Luke 21: 12 (Jesus said) “But before (the Son of Man returns), they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name… 16 You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. 17 You will be hated by all because of my name. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 By your endurance you will gain your souls.”
When we read the New Testament we see that Jesus was correct. Persecution and betrayal awaited many of his followers. What gets my attention this morning is “they will put some of you to death” and then “not a hair on your head will perish”. Seems like a bit of a contradiction. Unless, of course, Jesus is talking about eternal life rather than mortal life. Jesus explains in v.19 “By your endurance you will gain your souls”.
I have a daughter Victoria (above) who is applying to P.A. (physician’s assistant) school. She thought she was done with her coursework, but recently found out that two classes she took online during Covid will not be accepted by the admissions department of her preferred school. She will have to retake the courses in person even though she got A’s in these courses online as an undergrad. Needless to say, she is not happy about this. It will set her back a year. She sees her friends in other disciplines starting their professional careers but she’s held up. It’s discouraging.
Of course, as a 56-year-old man I know one additional year of waiting to enter grad school will not ultimately be a big deal. But, like most young people, Victoria doesn’t have the benefit of perspective the way us older folks do. A one-year delay feels like a lifetime to her.
When I read our passage for today I get the sense Jesus is telling his disciples something similar. Yes, the experience in the short-term may be incredibly difficult, but something much greater awaits in the eternal life to come. The trials and struggles of today will fade away as we experience eternity with a holy, loving, faithful, glorious God. Lord let it be so. Amen.