Jesus said to his disciples: “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the days of the Son of Man; they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage up to the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Similarly, as it was in the days of Lot: they were eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, building; on the day when Lot left Sodom, fire and brimstone rained from the sky to destroy them all. So it will be on the day the Son of Man is revealed. On that day, someone who is on the housetop and whose belongings are in the house must not go down to get them, and likewise one in the field must not return to what was left behind. Remember the wife of Lot. Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses it will save it. I tell you, on that night there will be two people in one bed; one will be taken, the other left. And there will be two women grinding meal together; one will be taken, the other left.” They said to him in reply, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the body is, there also the vultures will gather.” ( Luke 17:26-37)
The Jews is Jesus’ time were watching in great anticipation for some sign which would indicate when the Messiah would appear to establish the kingdom of God.
The Pharisees’ question on this matter was intended to test Jesus since they did not accept him as the Messiah. Jesus surprised them with the answer that the kingdom or reign of God was already here! Jesus spoke of the coming of God’s kingdom as both a present event and an event which would be manifested at the end of time.
We dwell within that kingdom when we’re with the King, when we allow his will to be done within us, when he reigns. When we submit ourselves to God and acknowledge his reign over our life.
In a country where “personal freedom” is a rallying cry, how does submission to God work? Certainly, they seem at odds.
In truth, they are if the concept of personal freedom means “it’s my way or the highway.” If that is the case then the highway one treads is going to lead to a disappointing end.
We are asked to accept the wisdom of his words” “Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses it will save it.”
Those who are living in the kingdom are losing their life for God and others, so that his kingdom will come and his will be done. Those who try to preserve their own kingdom, to hallow their own name, to do their own will, will be those who lose their lives.
There is a simple but profound truth in being a follower of Christ and allowing him to rule our lives. It is not simply giving mental ascent to a series of theological truths. It is not even primarily about living a good moral life, because millions of people do exactly that without any religious conviction whatever.
What it comes down to, what is at the heart of our religion is that we know that we are daughters and sons of God. We believe that we have a personal relationship with Christ. We trust that regardless of who we are or the mistakes we have made, God will remain faithful to us and protect us. We believe that Jesus knows the pitch of our voice and knowing everything about us, still freely chooses to love us and protect us.
Outside of that relationship, faith is simply a matter of words and religion a system of ideas. Words and ideas are not going to save us.
Only love can save us.
This is why we must be grounded in a relationship of love with Christ. We need the strength that flows from that love because we live in world where there are all kinds of threats. We face the threat of terrorism, the threat of illness, the threat of rejection or prejudice from others, the threat of addiction, of violence, of injustice.
How do we expect to cope with the fears that these threats can destroy us? How do we expect to gain the strength by which we can oppose the evil in our world and work towards God’s Kingdom? How do we expect to remain optimistic and positive, believing that life is worth living?
It is only when we ground ourselves in God’s personal love for us, that we can find peace. It is only when we believe God has chosen us and can recognize the very sound of our voice that we can live in freedom. Jesus’ words are clear. We belong to him. He knows our voice. He will always care and protect us. We need then, to stand in that personal relationship. We need to draw the strength that comes from Christ’s commitment to us. Jesus says, “I love you.” We need to believe those words and live in the peace that comes from that commitment.
Prayer of The Day
“Jesus, help me to see things as you see them, to value them as you value them. Give me the light and the strength to fulfill your will in all things—both now and at the end of my life.”
Jesus says that we stand in a close, personal relationship with him. He will give us life and protect us. Jesus’ words are clear. The question is, do we think that he is serious? Or do we hear them as a kind of religious jargon or a modified sales pitch that only partially applies to us? To hear them in that way would be a fatal mistake because the basis of all that we believe depends upon our acceptance of that personal relationship with Christ.