Would you open your Bible, please, to Luke 21...Luke 21. We are in a series called, "Signs of Christ's Return...Signs of Christ's Return." We're looking at the twenty-first chapter of Luke in which our Lord Himself gives a message on His return to His disciples. You will remember that it is on Wednesday of Passion Week, just two days before His crucifixion, that He sits on the western slope of the Mount of Olives with His disciples and tells them about His Second Coming. It's a critical message because everything is about to look like it ends very badly...very, very badly.
From a worldly perspective, the life of Jesus looks like a total disaster. He is executed like a common criminal on that Friday in front of the watching world in Israel. He dies in the most ignominious way possible, nailed, to hang naked in the sun. It can't go more wrong than that.
But that is not the end of the story by any means...by any means. On the third day after His crucifixion, He will rise from the dead. He will then ascend into heaven forty days later and in the future He will come again. What the world saw on that hillside on a Friday outside Jerusalem is not by any means the last vision of Jesus Christ. And so, on the brink of the darkest hour in the life of His followers, He gives to them the brightest hope. The core of this sermon which is recorded by Mark in Mark 13, recorded by Luke in Luke 21, and in full extent recorded by Matthew in Matthew 24 and 25. The heart of it is found in verses 25 to 28. Let's jump ahead, we'll get to this text in detail in a few weeks, but let's read it so we understand that this is the highpoint, this is the theme of what He is saying. And there will be in the future signs in sun and moon and stars and upon the earth dismay among nations in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads because your redemption is drawing near. The Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. He goes quietly like a criminal, shamed, scorned, despised, rejected, crucified. He comes back in blazing supernatural glory. The disciples need to know that. We need to know that. And so on that Wednesday night, Jesus sits them down and tells them that He will return....