I don’t know what’s going on with the bakeries here. For the third day in a row, I’ve had to walk past two bakeries with their windows shuttered before I could find a place open to sell me pan de sal. I’m going at about 5:30, but they’re usually open well before that. In fact, they’re often sold out by 6:00. Oh well, I pray while I walk, so I guess I’ve benefited by having a little longer walk than usual.
This morning, I was reading the passage in Luke where Jesus is comparing the leafing of the fig tree to the signs of His coming. I don’t have a very well-defined eschatology, but I usually think of the coming of Christ as a scary thing. The Old Testament prophecies usually talk about the Day of the Lord as a day of doom and gloom. But there’s almost always a glimmer of hope as the prophet recognizes that God has a plan to redeem and refine a remnant. I noticed today in the Luke passage a similar gleam of hope. Jesus said, “When you see all these things happening, lift up your heads because your redemption draws near.” Sure, the earth will be shaken, and the moon will turn blood-red, and lots of awful things will be happening; but the point is that redemption is on its way. Then he uses the leaves appearing on the fig tree to demonstrate the nearness of the kingdom. Nobody sees leaves appearing on a tree and says, “Oh no, I guess it’s all over for this tree.” Of course not. They get excited because new growth is coming. So, when things look a little gloomy in this old dying world of us, we just need to learn to see them as leaves on the fig tree and remember that God’s kingdom is going forward and it is near.
We had our first apologetics class of the new year today. We’re starting to dig into discussing the trustworthiness of the New Testament. This has been my first time to study the dating and authorship of the New Testament books as well as the history of canonization in any kind of depth. It hasn’t been too earth-shattering, but it has been interesting to note that there is some pretty good evidence for very early dates of the Gospels and even earlier for Paul’s writings.