Later, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives. His disciples came to him privately and said, “Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will signal your return and the end of the world?” Jesus told them, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.
“Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers. And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other. And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people. Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come. – Matthew 2:3-14 (NLT)
Jesus no sooner gets out of a dialogue where he condemns the Jewish leaders for things that are easy to see in our own lives (awkward) and immediately is asked questions about when his second coming would be (again awkward). Jesus answers with difficult words to hear: There will be suffering. Suffering, Jesus explains, comes in the form of human initiated suffering like wars and also naturally occurring suffering like famines and earthquakes. This is not what we want to hear. But Jesus provides hope in the form of salvation to all who endures these trials and temptations.
What are you enduring right now? What makes you keep moving forward? Endurance is a big part of the Christian life. How has endurance shaped your faith? When have you suffered and wanted to give up?