Thursday, March 17, 2022. Good morning! We have been looking into the passion story over the past weeks. The passion of Jesus is the whole series of events leading to his death at the cross of Calvary. In the gospels of the biblical New Testament, Jesus is preparing his disciples for these events. He is talking about human history and about the course of time, managing our expectations on what we can expect and what we should be careful about.
Increase of Wickedness …
We have already seen that Jesus tells his people to be aware that there will be wars and famines again and again throughout human history. He does not predict the end of this as long as the earth stands as it is. There is no Christian expectation of a kingdom of peace to be reached today or tomorrow as a result of our actions and our history. Yet, any Christian is called to live peace and love today.
In Matthew 24 Jesus talks about this love, which he places into the heart of his followers. Yet, it is in danger! Let us listen:
12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24, 12-14)
There will be an increase of wickedness, he says. I ask myself, if there is more wickedness today than it was in the time of the Roman empire. I wonder if there is more wickedness in particular places or regions due to local developments. When you look at events as in Nazi Germany, there was an outburst of wickedness. Even normal people seem to have taken place in unbelievable cruelty. Is our inherent cruelty just made public in such events? Is it always there? Is it growing?
Keep Love! …
We are called to stand firm. It seems clear here that Jesus talks about a heart full of love, truth, passion. He talks about trustfulness, about living faith in the Lord. Standing firm is to stay “in him”. With this expression we usually talk about a whole collection of characteristics, of a state of life which is filled by his holy spirit.
The gospel will be preached in the whole world. The gospel is the message of Jesus, of his ways, his words, his love, his death, his resurrection. It is the story of his passion. And indeed, this story has already been preached in the whole world and it is preached day by day where ever you go today. And it should be preached. It is good, helpful, full of wisdom, full of truth, full of perspective.
The gospel of Jesus means salvation. It is the only way to be saved. This salvation is about being taken into the presence of God. It is about community with the source of life, with eternal life. It is about being rescued from a live which is lost in space, separated from the beginning and the end. It is more than just something useful to get to another little goal. It is so much more than wisdom! It is life itself. (Roland Potthast)