Look at these pictures. Can you figure out what they are?

For these photos, stepping back to see the bigger picture would help. I feel the same way about our Bible text for Sunday.

Luke 21:5-19 is not one we ever really want to read. No one wants to think about the end time. We don’t want to think about stones being thrown down from the temple (verse 6). We do not need to hear about nation against nation (verse 10). Within our nation we are already divided. So why do we need to read Luke 21:5-19?

We know that wars, earthquakes, famines and plagues already ravage our world (verse 11). We know of divisions and pain within our families and communities (verse 16). So why Luke 21? If we step back to see the bigger picture, we learn that Luke was written after the destruction of the temple. Jesus had already been arrested, persecuted and killed. The same things happened to his followers.

Maybe this chapter in Luke is as much a descriptive of human brokenness and suffering as predictions of the end. Every age has tragedy and suffering. Maybe Luke 21 was written to give encouragement to fearful and discouraged people both then and now.

Jesus says, “Do not be terrified.” (verse 9) He ends with “You will be hated by all because of my name. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your souls.” (verses 17-19)

If we step back to see the bigger picture, we remember that Jesus not only died, but also rose from the dead. When we look back over God’s involvement in the world, we see God’s love, faithfulness and presence especially in suffering. The whole of the Gospel points to the new life that comes again and again in surprising ways.

Maybe this week we need to be reminded to step back and see the BIG picture. These words of God from Revelation 22:13 ground us in the biggest and most important picture of all: “ I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

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