November 27, 2023

Looking in the Wrong Places

Luke 17:22-37

“Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather.”

—  Luke 17:37

One time while we were on a hike as a family, we sat on a bluff overlooking a valley, and we took out a bundle of sandwiches made with leftover roast turkey. As soon as we started eating, a large vulture came swooping past us. And just as quickly it flew off again, seeing there was nothing dead or decaying for it to eat. Jesus’ comment about vultures in our reading for today has to do with questions about the end times. People often wonder whether disasters in their era are signs that the world is going to end. Today too, with wars, earthquakes, droughts, hurricanes, floods, and fires causing so much devastation and hardship, people question if these events might be the harbinger of Jesus’ return. But when his disciples asked him to explain about his coming again, Jesus gave a cryptic response about dead bodies and vultures! It seems he was simply saying that if you see many vultures gathering in the sky, you can be certain that something is dying. In another passage Jesus adds that only the Father knows exactly when the end will come—“not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. . . . So . . . be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him” (Matthew 24:36, 44). Knowing that Jesus will eventually come again, we can live faithfully as we continually look forward to his return.

Lord, help us not to grow weary of waiting but to continually hope in you and to live for you as we long for your coming again. Amen.

About the author — Julia Prins Vanderveen

Julia Prins Vanderveen works and lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with her husband, Trevor, and their three sons. Julia has served as a copastor with Trevor at a church in Vancouver. She is a campus pastor and a humanities teacher at the Vancouver Christian School.

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