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  • Writer's pictureMatt Beaney

#1078. The sign of the times (14/6/24)

This week in our series in Luke, we have been reflecting on Luke 12:35-57. Today we see that we are to believe the signs that point to Jesus as being Saviour and Lord. 

He said to the crowd: “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘It’s going to rain,’ and it does.  And when the south wind blows, you say, ‘It’s going to be hot,’ and it is.  Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time? “Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right?  As you are going with your adversary to the magistrate, try hard to be reconciled on the way, or your adversary may drag you off to the judge, and the judge turn you over to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison. I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.”’ (Luke 12:54-57) 

Lesson: As people respond to signs they see in nature, so we are to believe the signs about Jesus and receive Him as Lord and Saviour. 

To listen to this video, follow the link below:

Will we believe the signs?

I’m sure that we’ve all used or heard something like, ‘Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight; red sky in the morning, shepherd’s warning’. These sayings are passed on because they are often right and helpful in interpreting the signs in the sky that predict the weather. In Matthew we read:

‘He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’  and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.”’ (Matthew 16:2-3) 

Many of us, before we had mobile phones, would, before leaving home, look up at the sky to consider the ‘signs’ - the way the clouds looked - in order to decide whether or not to take an umbrella with us. 

Here, Jesus is confronting Israel - God’s chosen people; they will believe signs in the sky that predict the whether, but they refuse to believe the signs that Jesus has given, signs that reveal Him as their promised Messiah and Saviour. For example, when John the Baptist was imprisoned and questioning if, indeed, Jesus was the promised Messiah after all, Jesus replied:

‘“Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.  Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”’ (Luke 7:22-23) 

In calling them “hypocrites”, Jesus is judging them as those who are choosing to reject the ‘signs’ that He is their Messiah. 

We are not those first Jewish hearers whom Jesus is addressing. However, as we read the gospels, we have to decide if we are going to believe in all of the ‘signs’ that point to Jesus being Lord and Saviour. Specifically, we are to decide whether we will believe in His death and resurrection for sin (which He calls ‘The sign of Jonah’ in Luke 11:29). 

Be reconciled 

Added to Jesus challenging the people to read and respond to ‘the signs of the times’ - that the Saviour has come, He challenges them about reconciliation. As well as being simple wisdom, this is linked to the previous paragraph; this short parable speaks of being reconciled to God before judgement. He is challenging them to read the signs and receive the forgiveness and salvation that He gives. Likewise, for us, we are to be reconciled to God, through Christ, if we are to escape judgment. 


As people respond to signs they see in nature, so we are to believe the signs about Jesus and receive Him as Lord and Saviour. Many people believe things with very little evidence; they believe in various conspiracy theories, in aliens, in how the universe was created without God… but they refuse to believe in the Biblical accounts of Jesus without having given it any real consideration. We must encourage people to read the signs and respond: encourage people to read the stories of Jesus and explain the trustworthiness of scripture; we must encourage people to read the signs in humanity that reveal that we hunger to believe in something beyond the material; we must encourage people to read the signs in creation that speak of an intelligent designer. We must encourage people to read the signs in their own consciences that speak of our sense of guilt and desire for forgiveness. Most importantly, are you and I believing the signs and are we enjoying the reconciliation that Jesus gives? 



1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News. 

2. Icebreaker

How has God been speaking to you from His Word this week and how has this helped you? 

3. Worship together

Let’s begin our time together by lifting our eyes and hearts to worship our great God. Perhaps you have readings and songs that you would like to use together. Let’s be open to the gifts that the Spirit wants to give in order to encourage one another.

4. Study and pray together

Our message on Sunday was entitled, Living in light of Jesus love and His return. In this section, we see how Jesus’ love for us caused Him to suffer ‘be baptised’ to save us; We are also challenged to respond and ask if our love for Christ leads to costly loyalty whilst we with for His coming? 

Please read Luke 12:35-57, and discuss: 

  • Note - We only covered verses 49-53 on Sunday, so do use the devotionals which will help us to reflect on the rest of the section. 

  • What would you say is the main message and application of Luke 12:35-57? 

  • Did God speak to you about anything specifically from Sunday’s message?

  • Read 12:35-48: How does Jesus want us to live in the light of His coming?

  • Read 12:49-53: 

  • What can be the cost of living for Christ and are we prepared for this?

  • What does it mean for Jesus to be ‘baptised’ for us? 

  • SIV - How does our preparedness to suffer make us more effective in helping to bring people to Jesus? 

  • SIV - Do we have any stories of how we have ‘Served, Invested, and inVited’ recently?

  • SIV - Spend some time together talking and praying about who and how you are seeking to bring your community to Jesus. 

  • Let’s pray together that, this week, we will have opportunities to SIV; and pray for anything else that's come out of our time in God’s Word.

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