THOUGHTS FROM MATTHEW

August 19

Text: Matthew 24:15-22

 "Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains; let him who is on the housetop not go down to get the things out that are in his house; and let him who is in the field not turn back to get his cloak.  But woe to those who are with child and to those who nurse babes in those days!  But pray that your flight may not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath;  for then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall.  And unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days shall be cut short.  (NASB)

This will be approached as the Roman destruction of Jerusalem.  Roman troops were an occupying force in the region.  In this period they provided security, guaranteed the payment of Roman taxes, and maintained Roman law as the supreme authority.  The Jews continually feared that this occupying force would become an intervention force.  If that happened, the potential for destruction was enormous.

Jesusí statement declared that (a) the transition would occur, (b) it would be extremely serious, and (c) it would demand immediate escape.  Those working should flee promptly, leaving everything.  If the event happened in the winter or on a Sabbath, the timing would intensify the suffering.  The event would be particularly difficult for pregnant women and women with small children.  The ordeal (the brutality and lack of sympathy) would be so severe that only Godís intervention in concern for Jewish Christians would prevent a total annihilation of the Jerusalem area.

Some deaths express enormous courage.  Some deaths waste life and ability.  This death would waste life instead of expressing courage.  In this situation, the appropriate response would be prompt flight rather than wasting life.  Can you imagine the horrible decisions these people would face?

This attitude would not fit typical Jewish thinking, or typical American thinking.

There are times that it takes more courage to live in faith than to die in an attempt to make a statement.

Suggestion for reflection: How does a Christian show courage through faith?  (Read Philippians 1:18-26.)

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