Understanding the Present: How Close are We?

Week 3 of Understanding the Times

Welcome back, study friends! Thank you for following along with our Understanding the Times series, We spent a week focusing on why understanding the times matters. Then, last week, our study turned to understanding the past. If you missed those lessons, search previous posts to catch the first two weeks of the study.

This week, we will attempt to understand the present, and to answer the question: How close are we? Let’s get started!

A look at present-day news tells us we are living in unbelievable times! (Ezekiel 38 coalition on Israel’s border, Iran making threats to the US while reeling in economic woes, Turkey and Russia’s economies suffering, etc) Prophecy is playing out right before our very eyes. But let’s lay some foundation upon which to build as we consider today’s headlines. To do so, please take a few moments to read Luke 24:1-27.

Verses 1-12 give us the context, including two women who arrived at Jesus’ tomb to find that He was not there…He was risen! They remembered what Jesus had foretold about His resurrection and they went to tell His disciples. However, verse 11 tells us those words “appeared to them as nonsense.”

Thus, as two of Jesus’ followers walked along the road to Emmaus (verses 13-27) and Jesus appeared to them, they did not recognize Him! Nor did they understand what had just happened during that Passover week in Jerusalem. Therefore, Jesus said to them:

“O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?”

~Luke 24:25-26

Jesus made an emphatic point that, had those men known and believed what the prophets had spoken, they would not have been surprised by Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection.

Today, do we know and believe what the prophets spoke? Theologians calculate 25-33% of the Bible to be prophecy. It is important that we know and believe what the prophets spoke, or risk failing to understand the times and seasons in which we live!

The writer of Hebrews reiterated that fact when, in Hebrews 1:1-2, he wrote this:

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. 

God spoke through prophets in the Old Testament, but in these last days has spoken through Jesus! Thus, Jesus never contradicted anything the prophets spoke! Neither prophets nor Jesus spoke anything of their own accord, but only what God spoke through them!

So, to our key passage this week in Matthew 24. Jesus was about to deliver one of His most important messages…a message about His return. In the midst of the message was the parable of the fig tree.

Take some time today to read that chapter before we unpack it tomorrow. Notice the setting, the characters in the account, and the context of the message. Then, pull up to the virtual study table tomorrow to study this key passage. See you tomorrow!

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