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Stay Awake

• Greg Boyd

As Jesus was warning his disciples about the coming destruction of the temple he instructed them to be careful lest their hearts be weighed down in various ways. This warning applies not only to Jesus’ disciples at that time, but also to his disciples today.

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As Jesus was warning his disciples about the coming destruction of the temple he instructed them to be careful lest their hearts be weighed down by dissipation, drunkenness and anxieties. The destruction of the temple was a violent and terrifying event which not only symbolizes the end of an era, but destroyed the possibility of worshiping in the same way as they had for generations.

The “era” of the Old Covenant is fulfilled in Jesus and the New Covenant is established. Under the Old Covenant the common understanding was that God was focused on a specific people and a specific land. The truth is, God has always had the whole world in view and had called the people of God to serve the larger world. One way of describing this shift is from “a nation and land program” to a healing of all creation program.

In Christ, it is clear that God’s view is toward the whole world rather than a specific people and place (Rev. 5:10). The Kingdom of God isn’t limited to some particular place on the planet, but rather involves the whole of God’s creation. For this reason, we should think of our relationship with God as including our relationship to God’s creation. This is why Greg challenges us to consider how we treat the environment and the other creatures that live here with us. It’s not a liberal agenda but a biblical one.

Returning to Jesus’ warning about our hearts being weighed down, we can see that this applies not only to Jesus’ disciples at that time, but also to his disciples today. Just as Jesus’ disciples needed to be vigilant about when the destruction of the temple might happen, so we too must be vigilant about when Jesus might return to reign here “on earth as it is in heaven”.

Greg spent some time unpacking the things that weigh our hearts down.
“Dissipation” refers to the way our lives are fragmented by so many people/things pulling us in different directions.
“Drunkenness” of course can be understood literally but also includes the many ways we self-medicate, drown our sorrows or distract ourselves.
“Anxieties” simply refers to the many ways we get caught up in the cares of this world rather than resting in and experiencing deeply the peace of communing with God.

A more positive expression of this warning is the call through out scripture to “stay awake!” to God and what God is doing in the world around us.

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Topics: Creation Care, Pain & Suffering, Simplicity


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Focus Scripture:

  • Luke 21:28-32

    When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."

    He told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.

    “Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.

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