You Never Know, Do You?

Luke 21:5-19
James 4:13-14

I’m posting this blog the night before the election. It reminds me how often preachers make plans for the week’s worship, only to see something unexpected happen after its all gone to press. A lot of newspapers last week missed the opportunity to print the winner of the world series because the Cubs kept us awake past midnight. You never know, do you? The only thing that is certain is that God is in charge of history and his plans are inscrutable. That is what makes Jesus’ comments about the apocalypse so much fun. Jesus says that both those who put their certainty in sound foundations and good planning, as well as, those who look for portents in the sky and signs in their tea-leaves, will be wrong. No matter what tomorrow brings, we must decide before hand to be compassionate and faithful (Luke 21:13-15, 19). Christians don’t know who will be the best for America. They only know that Jesus calls them to love their neighbors, feed the hungry, give aid to the sick, visit those in prison, turn the other cheek, and to do unto others as we would wish them to do unto us. 


Scott Peck tells the story of a Jewish Rabbi in Czarist Russia who ran into trouble one day with the local commandant. The commandant was always looking for an opportunity to abuse the Jews in his district and when he saw the rabbi headed across the square at the hour of synagogue worship, he grabbed him and asked where he was going.

    “I don’t know,” the Rabbi answered.

    “Insolent fool. We both know what day and time it is,” the commandant screamed. “Every week you go to your synagogue at this time. How can you say that you don’t know where you are going?” With that the commandant marched the rabbi off to jail. 

    As he was being thrown into his jail cell, the rabbi said, “You never know, do you?”


We should have the same humility — see James 4:13-14. The disciples were convinced that the temple would last forever as a testament to the glory of God and the holiness of Jerusalem’s priesthood (Luke 21:5). You never know, do you? What about the church you worship in now? What about the social institutions that you think will never change? In the midst of this world where everything around us must change, our hope in God is the one thing that is secure. 


Jesus says, “By your endurance (in this hope), you will gain your soul. (Luke 21:19)” 

The temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in 70AD
Pentecost 28