This morning we have the opportunity to return to the twenty-first chapter of the gospel of Luke and to consider the next in a series of messages drawn from our Lord's own teaching called "Signs of Christ's return...Signs of Christ's return." One of the cardinal doctrines in the Christian faith is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. He came once to die on the cross, to pay the penalty for the sins of all who would believe throughout all of history. He will come again to judge the ungodly and to establish His Kingdom for His saints. He will reign in that Kingdom for a thousand years. Then the entire universe as we know it will be destroyed, and in its place He will create a New heaven and a New Earth in which all His own will dwell forever in joy and peace and righteousness. This is the future and this, as I said, is a cardinal doctrine of the Christian gospel, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
That is the theme of our text in Luke chapter 21. In fact, from verse 5 all the way to verse 36, Jesus talks about the features that are associated with His return. There are some people who would assume that the story of Jesus ended badly, that frankly it couldn't have ended any more badly than it did...rejected by His own people, killed as a criminal, rejected as a religious leader, seen as a seditious rebel, a threat not only to religion but a threat to societal peace, put on a cross by the Romans like a whole lot of other criminal riff-raff. It couldn't have ended any worse.
That might be the perspective of even well-intentioned people who were attracted to Jesus, if in fact we left out the rest of the story. But Jesus didn't leave it out and so on Wednesday of Passion Week, two days before His death, Jesus says, "I'll be back. This is not the last chapter. This is not the end. This is not the last vision the world will have of Me." Walking out of the temple on a Wednesday evening with only a few disciples gathered around Him, and heading up the western slope of the Mount of Olives, that is not the final vision of the Lord Jesus Christ. And He wants to make that very clear even before He goes to the cross....