"Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near" (Luke 21:28).

The Lord had shared awesome things with His disciples. He told them of the impending destruction of Jerusalem–and even of the Temple itself. The devastation would be so significant that one stone would not be left upon another. As the time drew near, false Christ's would arise, deceiving many. The news of the day would be of "wars and commotions"–and that would only be the beginning. Nation would rise against nation, and kingdom, against kingdom, as social agitation and political unrest began to spread.

As if that was not enough, Jesus continued, "great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven." Men would even lay hold on the Apostles themselves, as well as other believers, persecuting them and bringing them before wicked rulers for the name of Jesus.

The opposition would become intensely personal, as believers would be "betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some" would be caused "to be put to death." As iniquity and unrest spread, Christ's people would be "hated by all men" because of Him. Still, the Lord would be in total control, and "not a hair" of their head would perish. Through it all, they were to maintain the possession of their souls with spiritual consistency.

Speaking of the destruction of Jerusalem, Jesus told His disciples they would actually see alien armies surround the city, preparing to lay it to the ground with unspeakable violence. Many of the ancient people would die by the sword, and the holy city would be trampled down "until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled" (Lk 21:8-24).

He then told them of succeeding things that would involve "signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring." Natural calamity and social agitation would be so fierce "men's hearts" would fail them "from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven will be shaken" (v 25-26). The time would conclude with the coming of the Son of Man, "in a cloud with great power and glory" (v 27).

It was then Jesus told His disciples to be aware of the coming circumstances, and not to be overcome by them. When the things He prophesied BEGAN to come to pass, they were to "LOOK UP" in anticipation. The reason for the marvelous expectation: "REDEMPTION DRAWS NEAR!"

Could it be we are witnessing the fulfillment of some of these very things today? Are you able to discern it? What should be your reaction to the agitation and natural disruption about you? LOOK up! Look UP! This is not the end, but heralds the beginning–the making of "all things new" (Rev21:5). Look up, not down!

PRAYER POINT: Father, in Jesus' name, give me grace to look up with great zeal, and not be distracted by the agitations of this world.

-- Monday: EXPERIENCE --