Wisconsin Lutheran Chapel logo

God’s Word for You

Luke 21:32-33 All that matters is your faith in Jesus

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Friday, March 8, 2019

32 Amen, I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have happened. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

Who is this generation? Does Jesus mean that Peter, James and John and their wives and children would not die until all the signs of the end of the world had taken place? If so, then he was wrong. But he was not wrong, and he did not mean “this generation” in the sense of the people in front of him. The word genea (γενεά) and its Hebrew equivalent dor (Psalm 12:7) means “such a people,” a kind of people. Who is Jesus talking about? Is it:

a, The physical generation alive at the time he said this
b, All mankind
c, Christians
d, The wicked
e, Unbelievers
f, The opponents he had been facing on the day he said these things

Neither “all mankind” or “Christians” fits the context very well, nor do “the wicked” or “unbelievers” in general, because they would not require Jesus to use so strong a phrase as “Amen, I tell you.” We have already seen that the physical generation of Jesus’ time is not possible. This leaves only one possible answer, and it is by far the best one: He is once again drawing our attention to the type of opponent he had been facing on this particular day (Tuesday of Holy Week) there in the temple. Jesus is talking about those Jews who reject him. His prophecy with these words is that there will always be people who are Jews, descended from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but who turn away from faith in Christ. This is not to say that everyone who is Jewish by heritage is condemned—far from it. One’s race or heritage is meaningless in eternity. The only thing that matters is faith in Christ Jesus, or as Paul put it: “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love” (Galatians 5:6).

Our government made progress on a bill yesterday (March 7, 2019) to make anti-Semitism and racial hatred a crime. How such a law will be enforced remains to be seen, since it appears to poke its nose under the tent of thought and morality as well as actions. Yet it needs to be said that when the Bible speaks about the condemnation of the Jews, it is always and only because of the sins of unbelief and idolatry, not at all because of race or ethnicity. The Scriptures proclaim that faith alone, and no other factor, is what saves (Mark 16:16; Romans 4:16; Ephesians 2:8).

“My words will never pass away,” Jesus says. This is true of all his words, but don’t forget that it means that what he says about your sins will never pass away. When Jesus says, “You are forgiven,” it means now and forever. You are redeemed by him, no matter who you are, or who your parents were. All that matters is your faith in Jesus.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.



Browse Devotion Archive