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Vultures will Gather

Vultures will Gather

Words of Faith 11-15-18

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2018

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Luke 17:33-37

    Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. [34] I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. [35] Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left." [36] 

    [37] "Where, Lord?" they asked.

    He replied, "Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather."


        Jesus had just given the most comprehensive teaching on the coming of the Son of Man but the disciples had another question.  Where? 

        Where what?  They may have meant to ask "Where will those who are taken be taken?"  Or perhaps they wanted to know where will they be taken from or even where will they be left?  Jesus' answer was cryptic.  "Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather."

        This one is not going to make the top ten list of favorite memory verses.  Not a very good Vacation Bible School theme either.  The vulture skit would be difficult.  And last time I checked, this one was not in the Navpress Memory Pac. 

        This phrase has been interpreted variously but it seems best to understand that Jesus was reaffirming that these people would be taken into judgment.  Much as a dead body causes vultures to "gather" on it, so spiritually dead people are consigned to judgment if they are not prepared for the coming of the Kingdom.

         The image Jesus used could mean that the judgment gathers like vultures upon those who are spiritually dead.  You will know where the judgment of the Son of Man is because of the vultures gathering.  Vultures can smell death even before it comes.  Vultures gather and circle around an animal that is near death. 

         There may well be vultures that gather around a person who is spiritually dead or dying.  So in some situations gathering a big crowd is not a good thing!  If the crowd you gather is made up of vultures it is not a good sign.  The question is: Are you ready for life or death?

         Here is the bottom line.  We cannot escape the reality of judgment and we cannot survive its consequence except in a relationship with Jesus Christ. When we know Jesus we are judged, sentenced, paid for, and reckoned righteous according to His righteousness and sacrifice on our behalf.  The thing that Jesus had to do first, suffer and pay for you and me, is vital to God's plan for you.

        This certainly draws us to making some conclusions and decisions as the Spirit draws us to Himself.  I would not want to leave this place in scripture without knowing that I had settled these issues for eternity.  No one knows when the moment of death may come or when the Day of the Son of Man will come.  If they say they do, they are lying or deluded. 

         We will face the Lord at a moment when we do not expect it.  If we do not know Jesus, the vultures are gathering. We will either greet that moment with great peace or with great fear.  We will either come to that moment with joy and eagerness or looking back with regret at all the stuff we are leaving behind. 

         In that moment, things will be fixed for eternity.  In that moment, we will be judged according to our sin and earthly attachments or by the covering of Jesus over us and his work for us upon the cross that sets us free from this world.

         The Good News is that you and I need not lack peace.  We do not need to know "when" as long as you know "who.”  If we know the King and we surrender to Him, then we have the Kingdom within and among us. If we have allowed Him to establish His reign in our lives as we surrender to Him, then we have nothing to fear and everything to long for.  And whether we die in the next moment or find ourselves "taken" in the twinkling of an eye we can know that we have eternity to spend with God. 

         Let's ask a question that helps to focus things.  Do you, in fact, know that if you died today that you would spend eternity with God?  You might answer: I hope so or I think so.  But the Bible says that you can know for sure. John's Gospel says that these things are written that you might know that you have eternal life.  So how can we know?

         Another question.  How would you respond if God were to ask you: "Why should I let you into heaven?"  You might answer: "Because I am nice" or "I am as not as bad as others" or "I have tried to be good" or "I am religious.”   In fact, our goodness has nothing to do with whether we spend eternity with God.  The only thing that matters is whether we have received the work of Jesus on our behalf. 

        That is why Jesus said, "But first the Son of Man must suffer many things."  If we trust in that work on our behalf, then we have nothing to fear because the Kingdom of God is among us and within us.  We are back to the question asked by some Pharisees.  The Kingdom God is a matter of the condition of your heart.  Have you surrendered?

     We do this in a simple prayer that the Lord draws us to. 


    Lord Jesus, I need You.  I confess that my heart has been tied to the things of earth.  I have sought to save my life and now realize I am losing it.  Lord, I want to surrender to the King   that the Kingdom may be within me.  Forgive me of my sin.  Come into my heart to stay. 


        If you pray a prayer like that, you can rest in the assurance of God's Word that Jesus has forgiven your sin and has come in to dwell within You.  It would be most helpful to contact a pastor a friend to learn how to grow in your new faith.

         Today is a wonderful day to pray such a prayer. and receive that Good News, and claim that gift.