Summary: As a Christian believer, is the end of time really that important to my life? Does it really make a difference to how I live?
My Aims for End Times Series: over the course of the next few weeks, I want you to join the believers of the early church by feeling the wonder and awe of the Bible’s teaching of Christ’s return. I want the impact of Christ’s return to stir you with new affections for Christ. As a Christian believer, is the end of time really that important to my life? Does it really make a difference to how I live? I want this truth to impact your Monday commute to work. I hope you have brought a Bible with you and I invite you to turn with me to Luke 12.
Jesus has just finished speaking about His return to earth when He says these words:
“I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! 50 I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished! 51 Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. 52 For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. 53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
54 He also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say at once, ‘A shower is coming.’ And so it happens. 55 And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat,’ and it happens. 56 You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?
57 “And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? 58 As you go with your accuser before the magistrate, make an effort to settle with him on the way, lest he drag you to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer put you in prison. 59 I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the very last penny.” (Luke 12:49-59)
The Bible is one big story. The Bible is a story with a beginning, a middle, and an end. Indeed, the Bible tells a story that makes sense of the smaller stories of each of our individual lives. The Bible is a single story. Even though there are two testaments, there is but one story. Here’s the Bible’s big story in four sentences…
1. God made the world.
2. The world itself was devastated because we turned away from Him.
3. God reentered the world to rescue us from sin and death.
4. And one day, God will remake the world – he’ll completely restore the world at the end.
Again, the Bible tells one story. It begins with an innocent garden and it ends in a glorious garden city. And what you’ll discover is that we are living between the first and second coming of Jesus. We are living between God’s reentry where He rescued us from sin and death and His complete restoration of the world in the coming days.
Jesus Begins the End Times
Jesus Brings a Crisis
Review from Week One: There is at least two things we can about Christ’s return with conviction:
1) Jesus is Coming – it’s going to happen.
2) We don’t know when it’s going to happen.
1. Jesus Begins the End Times
Believers and unbelievers alike are interested in asking: “Are we living in the end days?” I want to clear a surprising misconception about the end times by closely reading our Bibles. A Surprising Truth: Contrary to what you’ve heard – the end times are not a day in the distant future but the last days began with Jesus’ First Coming. Let me show you in our passage… Jesus links His first coming at Bethlehem and His Second Coming in a surprising way. Jesus has just completed speaking about His Second Coming, or the end of time. Here in the later part of Luke 12, Jesus is moving back and forth between two horizons: His first coming and His second coming. Jesus moves from talking about His Second Coming to speak of His present ministry, at His first coming… … His first coming that began in Bethlehem and ends with the cross and resurrection.
Look again at what He says: No sooner that Jesus says: “You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Luke 12:40) Then He says: “I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished!” (Luke 12:50) Again, Jesus is moving back and forth between two horizons: His first coming and His second coming. Jesus recognizes He’s on a schedule, a program if you will. You can see the sense of the schedule’s He’s on when you see the words, “until it is accomplished.” Jesus has a divine to-do list and He has certain things that must soon take place, namely His baptism. The baptism Jesus mentions in verse fifty is not when He was baptized by John the Baptist, for that has already happened. Instead, You get the sense of this when you see the words at the end of verse fifty: “how great is my distress until it is accomplished!” (Luke 12:50b) The baptism here is a future event. Jesus’ baptism is a metaphor for the cross where He must die. Again, Jesus moves back and forth between two horizons: His first coming and His second coming.