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Our Lenten Hope

Ash Wednesday
( [email protected] ) Feb 25, 2009 07:23 AM EST

Wednesday

Author: Jerry Wong, Senior Pastor, Maranatha Bible Church, San Ramon

1 Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. 2 But he answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” 3 As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?” (Matthew 24:1-3, ESV)

How will things end? We will read the articles and watch the documentaries about what will come our way in the next millennia. We will spend inordinate amounts of time looking at what will come in the next season whether it’s fashion or electronics. We are fascinated with movie trailers of upcoming mega blockbusters and look forward to the new TV season. Sports reminds us there’s always next year — whether amateur, professional or fantasy. We give no thought to the questions the disciples posed. Why, obviously because things will never end? We will continue the constant evolution towards higher self-awareness and social harmony. There WILL be an end to poverty, world peace and there WILL be equality for all. This will happen not because of some grand master plan for human improvement, rather it’s because there is so much available time. Jesus draws a sharp contrast in the gospels. The grandeur of the temple — the symbol of human accomplishment for the glory of God; the temple that has stood for so long will fall. Jesus visits the temple with His disciples and makes this audacious claim. What does this mean they ask? It means the end. Our most cherished monuments to personal accomplishment will end. Such is the shocking truth of Jesus’ statement. But, at the end of verse 3, Matthew writes that the disciples expected Jesus to come again, “what will be the sign of your coming?” There will be a coming. And in that expectation lays the remedy for the terror of the end and the tyranny of countless regrets. End to all we cherish? Yes, but also an end to all we fear. Will it be a zero sum gain? No, Jesus comes. Our experience, even in the best of times is bittersweet and a mixed bag of good and bad. When Jesus comes, this age ends and He ushers in His age. What will it be like? The full reality awaits the return of Jesus. Until then, there is always our Lenten hope.

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The ISAAC 2009 Lenten Devotional, edited by Rev. Dr. Johnson Chiu. This devotional was written by Asian American English ministry leaders and pastors in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. To purchase, click here: Road of Suffering, Road to Glory: A Lenten Adventure with the Savior