I recently listened to a podcast during which the presenters answered some listener questions – one of the questions that came in was this. “Are we experiencing the end of the world? “
The listener who asked the question was thinking about Covid, lockdowns, all the problems related to health, loneliness, addiction, isolation, the economy etc. – are these signs that the end of the world is happening?
The people on the podcast responded like this they said “No, this is not the end of the world, but it could be the end of the world as we know it.”
It got me thinking, it got me thinking about our obsession with the end of the world and our desire to know what’s going to happen in the future. It got me wondering why so many Christians are obsessed with this topic. I mean, when I became a follower of Jesus over 40 years ago we talked about this a lot – in fact we had a whole weeks of bible studies on the end of the world. Specialist teachers would be invited into our church to come and take a series of talks of four or five days – my own pastor who is a great bible teacher would do major talk – some major series on this subject, (Maybe you experienced that too )
In one respect it’s not surprising because Jesus said a fair few things about the end of the world.
What if I said that the ministry of Jesus was such a contrast to what people thought about the way everything worked that people heard it like this – “It’s the end of the world as we know it.”
I can also remember Christians with placards saying. “The end is nigh.”and often their accompanying message was one of judgement and criticism, their goal was to instill fear, maybe to shock people into believing in Jesus… now Jesus certainly didn’t come with that spirit
But if you were Herod, a Jewish King in league with the Romans you were afraid of a new King being born, and if you were Pilot a Roman governor you were afraid of messiahs and you would ultimately arrest and then crucify these rebels. And if you were Caiaphas, the Jewish high priest, or indeed a Pharisee or Sadducee, members of Jewish religious sects… Jesus was not on your Christmas card list and in fact you would strangely join together and in the end encourage Pilot to crucify him.
Because everything Jesus did was a message
A message to Pilot – your world is coming to an end
A message to Herod – your world is coming to an end
A message to Caiaphas and the religious leaders – your world is about to end
In a recent message I looked at how Jesus announces that the Kingdom of God is here, how it is among you, it is at hand… the kingdom of God is within you he says… and the power in that message is the realisation that everything else is temporary, that everything else that you trust in will fail, that everything else… Empire, Authority, Religion – they’ve all had their day… There’s a new King and his name is Jesus.
And Jesus mission, his purpose, was to get his followers to see this and to switch their allegiance, to switch their faith… from Empire, from Governments, from Religion, from money and wealth and to place their whole trust in a relationship with him… after all there’s no point trusting in something that will fail, something that is temporary.