How sure are the words of Jesus? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Jesus here has a contrast. He is clear that this generation will not pass away, but He says Heaven and Earth will pass. He also says that His words will not pass away. While that could be a pointer to an inerrancy of His words, which I would accept even though this is not necessarily I think the best text for it, it’s more the idea of the certainty of the judgment. Of course, it would be. In Matthew 23 he had just lambasted the Pharisees and shared the certainty of judgment to them.
Some could think that this verse could indicate the destruction of Earth. I do not think that anymore than God needs to destroy the Heaven that He dwells in, as if it’s somehow impure. The same would refer to the sky. If anything, I think this would indicate more of a purification. The way the universe is today will pass away. God has always been about redeeming the Earth just as He has been about redeeming the human body, hence the incarnation.
At this point also, I think there is a decided shift in the discourse. Jesus is now wrapping up talking about an event that is coming on the first-century audience. Now, He will shift towards later judgment. At the same time, it is a present judgment. These are immediate calls to repentance for the people, which would also make sense since he has told the people now that judgment is coming on them soon, or at least His disciples who will bring this message to the people.
This also should be our message when it comes to judgment. Repentance. We need to be teaching that constantly. Is it foolish to say something like Covid-19 is a direct judgment of God? I think so. Does it mean we shouldn’t tell people to repent? Absolutely not. If anything, disasters should always show us the things that we take for granted.
Jesus’s audience was indeed living on borrowed time. Who else is? You and I are. None of us is guaranteed another day, let alone another minute. That generation did not pass away before the judgment came, but we know some passed away before that judgment and faced their own personal judgment then. The same could happen to you and I. Odds are you won’t die of Corona. Seriously. You likely won’t, all things being equal. Still, you could die in a car accident today. Anytime you hear a story on the radio of someone dying in a car accident, unless it was a suicide attempt, most of them had no plans to die that day and yet it happened.
As we go forward, we will see warnings of judgment and how we could be judged at any time. Be watchful. You don’t know when your time is.