Open-Mouthed Tourists

Face to Face with Jesus

Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost, Year C

What are you distracted by? That’s a question underlying our text this week. What is it that draws your attention away from your call to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world? Not that followers of Jesus aren’t allowed to enjoy the beauty and wonder that this world has to offer. The Christian life is marked by joy and surrounded by wonder. Yet, like the disciples in our text, we can be distracted by what we see around us and lose sight of our reason for being, to live a life of proclamation and invitation.

Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost – Open-Mouthed Tourists

November 13, 2022 – Luke 21:5-19 NIRV

When the Temple Will Be Destroyed and the Signs of the End

5 Some of Jesus’ disciples were talking about the temple. They spoke about how it was decorated with beautiful stones and with gifts that honored God. But Jesus asked, 6 “Do you see all this? The time will come when not one stone will be left on top of another. Every stone will be thrown down.”

7 “Teacher,” they asked, “when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?”

8 Jesus replied, “Keep watch! Be careful that you are not fooled. Many will come in my name. They will claim, ‘I am he!’ And they will say, ‘The time is near!’ Do not follow them. 9 Do not be afraid when you hear about wars and about fighting against rulers. Those things must happen first. But the end will not come right away.”

10 Then Jesus said to them, “Nation will fight against nation. Kingdom will fight against kingdom. 11 In many places there will be powerful earthquakes. People will go hungry. There will be terrible sicknesses. Things will happen that will make people afraid. There will be great and miraculous signs from heaven.

12 “But before all this, people will arrest you and treat you badly. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison. You will be brought to kings and governors. All this will happen to you because of my name. 13 And so you will be witnesses about me. 14 But make up your mind not to worry ahead of time about how to stand up for yourselves. 15 I will give you words of wisdom. None of your enemies will be able to withstand them or prove them wrong. 16 Even your parents, brothers, sisters, relatives, and friends will hand you over to the authorities. The authorities will put some of you to death. 17 Everyone will hate you because of me. 18 But not a hair on your head will be harmed. 19 Remain strong in the faith, and you will receive eternal life.

New International Reader's Version (NIRV) Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Object/visual aid:

Blank thank-you card.


Today’s Bible story is from the Gospel of Luke. The gospels tell us the stories of Jesus and many of his encounters with others. Today’s story is a little bit scary. Jesus is talking about the end of the world, and he talks about things that will happen when that time comes. He talks about earthquakes and sickness and war all around. But —and this is especially important— Jesus tells his disciples that they don’t need to be afraid. Even when the world seems like it is in total chaos Jesus will always be with us. Remember last week, we wrote a thank-you card to Jesus from the Sadducees, thanking Jesus for a heaven.

Have you ever been in a bad storm? Can you think of a time when you were told by your parents or another adult in your life that a bad storm was coming near your house? What did you do? Where did you go? (Allow children to describe the situation.) Many times, we go inside a closet or to a basement if we have one to keep us away from windows. If you go somewhere like that, the storm seems calmer than it does if you are near a window. Even if the storm is raging and loud, you can feel calm and quiet in those spaces.

We all are going to have storms and feelings of uneasiness during our lives. Life is not always easy. It isn’t for me, you, or even the disciples. Sometimes bad things will happen. We will get hurt. There will be times where we feel really, really sad. Have you ever cried before? Raise your hand if you have ever been hurt. (Allow children to raise their hands.) All of us have, and all of us probably will cry again.

Jesus wants his followers to know that God protects them and is always all around us. Philippians 4:7 reminds us: 7 Then God’s peace will watch over your hearts and your minds. He will do this because you belong to Christ Jesus. God’s peace can never be completely understood. Isaiah 9:6, from the Old Testament, also reminds us: Isaiah 9:6:

6 A child will be born to us.
A son will be given to us.
He will rule over us.
And he will be called
Wonderful Adviser and Mighty God.
He will also be called Father Who Lives Forever
and Prince Who Brings Peace.

Even if there are storms and scary situations around us, God always brings a calmness that doesn’t change, even if we are hurt or scared. When we find ourselves in those situations, we can pray for God’s protection and comfort. We can remember that God is always safely close by.

Can you help me write this week’s thank-you card? Today, let us write a note to Jesus from the disciples who were thinking about God’s closeness and comfort, even when difficult times in life occur.

(Write the thank-you card. Have your words prepared; as you pretend to write the thank-you card, read it aloud.)

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for reminding us that God is a calm presence during life’s storms. We give you thanks for your protection and love. When we are hurt or feeling sad, we can always talk to you in prayer to find your help, comfort, and peace.


The Disciples


In This Series...

Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Twenty-Second Sunday after Pentecost, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Reign of Christ, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes


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In This Series...

Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Twenty-Second Sunday after Pentecost, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Reign of Christ, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes