He Holds the Future
The signs of the end times
A bag of fortune cookies
He replied: "Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am he,' and, 'The time is near.' Do not follow them." Luke 21:8 (NIV)
Do you like Chinese food? I love it! When we go out to eat, one of my favorite places is a Chinese restaurant. After you finish eating, they always bring some fortune cookies. When you break them open they have a little strip of paper with your fortune on it. Here are some examples of what they might say:
- Good things are coming your way.
- Success will be yours at school and at play.
- You will have a pleasant surprise soon.
- You will make very good choices today.
- The time is right to make new friends.
- Something you lost will turn up soon.
- You will do something soon that will make your family proud.
- You will live a long, happy life.
When you read your fortune from a fortune cookie, do you believe it? We might get a good laugh out of some of them, but it is foolish to think that a piece of paper in a fortune cookie could tell what is going to happen in your future.
In our Bible lesson today, Jesus had some things to say about people who claimed that they could predict the future. Jesus and his disciples were in the temple and the disciples were talking about how beautiful it was with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God. Jesus said to them, "The time is coming when all these things will be completely destroyed. Not one stone will be left on top of another; every one of them will be thrown down!"
The disciples were frightened by what Jesus said. "When will these things happen?" they asked. "What signs can we look for that will let us know that these things are about to take place?"
"Don't let anyone mislead you," Jesus answered. "Many will come in my name, claiming to be the Messiah, and saying, 'The time has come!' But don't believe them." You see, Jesus knew that these people could not see into the future. Only God can do that!
There are some people today who think that they can see into the future. They may say some frightening things, but we need to remember what Jesus taught his disciples. "Don't worry!" he said. "Not a hair on your head will be harmed. You will be saved by being faithful to me."
Heavenly Father, we don't know what the future holds, but we know that you hold the future. We know that we will be safe when we put our faith and trust in you. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.