The Buds of Spring

Luke 21: 29-33
Dn 7:2-14 / Dn 3

Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near.
(Luke 21: 29-30)

End times will come, there’s no denying,
Or the destruction death will bring;
But past the winter of life’s passing,
Comes the eternal buds of spring.

Jesus told (His disciples) this lesson: “Consider the fig tree and all the other trees; as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” (Luke 21:29-33)

Reflection

Chapter 21 of Luke’s Gospel contains some of the most difficult lessons or prophecies that our Lord Jesus was imparting to the Jews of His generation, and for the future generations of Christians to interpret and understand. To be sure, the earlier parts of the chapter, which predicted the destruction of the temple (verses 5 – 6), the coming persecution of the early Church (verses 12 -19), and the ultimate fall of Jerusalem to the gentiles (verses 20–24), were all fulfilled when the Romans, during the reign of Emperor Vespasian, invaded and destroyed Jerusalem in AD 70. These events are similarly depicted in the other synoptic gospels.

What must have confused His listeners however were His words in the same chapter: “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will die of fright … the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory” (Lk.21:25-27). This prophecy of eschatological times seems to be more for our benefit than for Jews at that time.

And then, as if to dispel the doubts and confusion of His apostles and our generation, Jesus cited the lesson of the fig tree. Whatever may happen at any time in our lives, our Lord guarantees in this lesson that we will know beforehand, as certain as we know the changing of the seasons by the signs that nature shows us. He further assures us that in the midst of change and transformation through the passage of time, “Heaven and earth may pass away, but My words will never pass away.” (Lk. 21:33) As His followers, as long as we remain steadfast in our faith, and hold firm to the Gospel in our lives, we need not fear our destruction, for after the winter of death will surely come bursting forth the eternal buds of spring. His words are full of hope because the image that He presents is not one that we must dread, like war and destruction as the apocalypse is known, but one of spring, when from the ‘death’ of winter new life shall once again arise – buds bursting with new leaves. These “buds” of His kingdom on earth are even now in the hearts of those who have received His Word, and are boldly proclaiming His Good News of salvation to others. They have put their trust in God’s Promised One, His Word, our Lord Jesus Christ, and their testimonies are the fruits of His kingdom.

Through the passing of the seasons, change comes inevitably. Only Your Word can make us steadfast, Lord, and prepare us for the coming of Your kingdom. Lord God, Your kingdom “…is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17). May we never tire in proclaiming its coming. Amen.

Comments are closed.