by Darren Pope
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But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. ‘Where, Lord?’ they asked. He replied, ‘Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather’ (Luke 17:25,37).
Darkness, suffering, pain, loss, rejection, disaster, death and destruction. Wow, that sounds like a really discouraging reading. It just doesn’t seem fair that people doing life together will experience all these things in their journey. It paints a really depressing image of what life on earth is like, and ultimately, an apparent lack of purpose when it all comes to a screaming end! Okay, so it’s obvious that all this stuff happens in real life, and it’s just the human experience of living as broken people, steeped in the stain of sin. So, is there good news in all this mayhem and malice?
Read the text again. This time, notice the messages that aren’t so obvious. Did you spot the good news this time? The silent voice that roars loudly in this text is the one that heralds the active advocacy of Christ in every ugly moment this earthly life can muster. Yes, we can see the vultures appear when the crowds shouted for crucifixion, and the guards gambled at his feet, but even more clearly, we find encouragement and courage to take on life’s challenges with Christ as our guide. Luke hints that our future is hopeful, not horrific. He portrays a time when suffering will end and that Christ, being fully human and fully God, will completely absorb and shoulder every moment of our sinful suffering. Our loving, active and present Lord is for you. He comes to you. He gives you his love, peace, forgiveness and purpose, unconditionally.
Still hopeless? No.
Our hope is in Christ.
Lord of love, thank you for being my guide. Thank you for being my hope. Thank you for knowing me deeply and still loving me. Amen.