18 March 2014

BSF 2013-2014: Matthew 24

Have you ever anticipated a special event in your life? Perhaps your wedding or a job promotion or (like we are right now) the birth of a child? How did you wait for the event? Were you lazy and indifferent, or were you excited and did you prepare for the event?

In this passage, Jesus tells His disciples that they should prepare themselves for the most glorious event of all – His second coming. He tells His disciples (and us today!) not to be deceived and not to be alarmed about His second coming. We must keep watch, and we must keep working. Jesus will return again, and we need to be ready.

At the beginning of Matthew 24, Jesus prophesies that the temple in Jerusalem will be destroyed completely. Not one stone will be left unturned. Naturally, the disciples want to know when this will happen. In Luke 21:20, Jesus tells them the temple will be destroyed when they see Jerusalem surrounded by armies. This was fulfilled in 70 A.D. when the Roman armies, led by Titus, destroyed Jerusalem, including the temple. To fulfill prophecy, the people who fled to the mountains were saved, but the people who remained in the city were killed.

The disciples also want to know the sign of Jesus’ coming. He warns them not to be deceived by false messiahs and people who claim that Jesus has already come. Jesus tells the disciples that they will hear about wars and rumors of wars, and there will be natural disasters. But Jesus tells them not to be alarmed. We see so many of these signs today. That means that Jesus’ return is eminent.

Finally, the disciples ask about the sign of the end of the age. Jesus doesn’t specify what the sign will be, but He does tell us that His return will be visible to all people on the earth. We won’t be able to miss it!

Then Jesus gives more instructions to His followers who are waiting for His return. He tells us to be watchful, be ready and continue serving. We do not know when Jesus will return, so don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise! We will be in the midst of our normal lives when Jesus returns. But until then, we should not be lazy. We must continue to share the Gospel and serve God and others until Jesus returns. We must be ready because He could come at any moment!

Things to Think About
  • Prophecy can be difficult to understand. Trust God when things don’t make sense.
  • Some things will remain a mystery. Focus on the fact that Jesus will return.
  • Do you believe Jesus will return?
  • If Jesus returned right now, what would your response be?
  • Are you anticipating Christ’s return? How often do you think about it?