The shortest verse, “Jesus wept” (John 11:35) occurs when Jesus comes to the tomb of Lazarus after he had been dead four days. Everyone was weeping and grief stricken but very soon there was great joy. The second shortest verse in the Bible (Luke 17:32) describes an opposite situation. Jesus tells of a person who was being saved, but then wasn’t. Not only was she not saved but neither were the others in her city, except her husband and two daughters. Jesus warns about the terrible drama which will occur when he returns, and for the majority of people this will be traumatic.

“Remember Lot’s wife”. She was leaving Sodom reluctantly; her heart was in what she was leaving behind. She refused the guiding hand of the angels which her husband and daughters accepted. Jesus is indicating there will be some who do the same thing at the time of his return. He adds, “Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it”. What might they be seeking to preserve? Is it the abundance of the things they possess? Remember Luke 12:15, “One’s life does not consist of the abundance of his (or her) possessions.”

These words of Jesus about his return started when the Pharisees asked when the kingdom of God would come (17:20). His answer is, “The Kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed” – people would not notice his impending arrival, as they did when he entered Jerusalem triumphantly on the donkey. The Pharisees missed the prophecies then because they had tunnel vision on what they wanted to believe! But what about us?

Suddenly the King of the Kingdom will be in their midst (verse 21), “for as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day” (verse 24). He then reminds them of the rescue of Lot, “so will it be when the Son of Man is revealed”. Reluctant believers, with little oil of faith in their lamps, will suffer the same fate as Lot’s wife, so let us make sure this life does not dominate our thinking.