"The Goal of Understanding The Times"
Jesus was aware of the ancient seafarer's and fishermen's rhyme: "Red sun at morning, sailors take warning, red sun at night, sailor's delight" (based on the reddish glow of the morning or evening sky, caused by haze or clouds related to storms in the region), so in Luke 12: 54-55 He encouraged His disciples and the crowds that one must be skilled not only in weather interpretation, but also able to interpret the present time. Present time interpretation cannot be attained unless Christ abides in one’s heart (John 14:10-15). Abiding in Christ requires commitment and hard work, even to the point of emptying oneself. As He said in verse 14, "If you ask Me anything in my Name, I will do it."
Yes, it is when we empty ourselves that Christ Jesus will fill our lives with His grace. By the aid of the Holy Spirit (John 14:26), believers are able to interpret things present and things to come. It was prophesied in the Old Testament by the prophets Joel and Ezekiel that God would pour out His Spirit on all mankind; the old men would dream dreams, the young men would see visions (Joel 2: 28-29), to " ... move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep My laws (Ezekiel. 36:27). "
In the Old Testament only a very few selected men in Israel were able to receive God's Holy Spirit, but in this present time the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is massive, because God wants mankind to be saved.
But often it is like the story of Jesus about the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31), where the rich man was so focused on his riches that he was not sensitive to the time nor the things that surrounded him. He was short sighted to the needs of Lazarus, a poor man who was a stone’s throw away from him, so he ended up tormented in Hades. Today’s second proclamation of God's Word in Hebrew 12: 1 teaches us to lay aside any obstacles; the earthly riches that prevent us from focusing our spiritual eyes on the Lord Jesus. We must keep ourselves busy in His service (ministry) and obey His teachings. As Father Abraham told the rich man in Luke 16:31, "If they did not listen to Moses and the prophets ..." Moses and the prophets represent the bishops, priests, pastors and other clergy of this present time. They are Spirit-filled servants of the Lord operating in their spiritual gifts. Their spiritual gifts enable them to interpret the times and things to come. Jesus orders us to listen and be sensitive to their messages, so let us always spiritually prepare for His second coming as the Judge, Who is like a thief in the night, the time of whose coming we do not know (1 Thess. 5:2, Rev. 3:3).