Questions for Littles: With what two things were the disciples so impressed in v1? What does Jesus tell them about these two things in v2? Which four come to him in v3? What do they ask in v4? What is the first sentence of Jesus’s answer in v5? What kinds of things does Jesus say they will hear about in v6-7? But what does He stay is still not yet? What else does He say will come (v8)? But for what should they watch out (v9)? What must happen before the end can come (v10)? Who will speak through the apostles when they are on trial (v11)? What else will happen to them (v12-13)? What are they to do when they see the abomination that Daniel talked about where he is not supposed to be (v14)? How hastily should they leave (v15-18)? How bad is the trouble that they are escaping (v19)? For whose sake does the Lord limit that trouble (v20)? Then, what should they still not believe (v21-23)? What kinds of things will happen at the true end (v24-27)? When will the “all these things” of v6-23 take place (v28-30)? But when will the “those/that day(s)” of v24-27 take place (v31-32)? Instead of trying to figure out the time, what should they be paying close attention to (v33-37)? What is it impossible for us to know?In the Gospel reading this week, the disciples are very impressed with the temple, but Jesus throws a wet blanket upon their enthusiasm by informing them that it would be utterly destroyed. They jump to the conclusion that He must be talking about the end of the world, so their follow-up question is to know when that is coming.
Jesus spends the next thirty-plus verses telling them, “You can’t know.” But of course He says more than that. His main message is to watch themselves.
They could in fact know when the Lord was about to destroy Jerusalem in a great tribulation. Jesus gives them a sign, something that had happened before, when Daniel prophesied it.
In that case, Greek general Antiochus Epiphanes had desecrated the temple, and there was a vicious sacking of Jerusalem. What would happen at the hands of Roman General Titus in 70 A.D. would be even worse, but follow a similar pattern.
Jesus tells them that when they see this history repeating itself, they are to run for the hills. The Christians did so, and the Jews considered themselves abandoned by their relatives, and never forgave them for it.
But even then, His main command is “watch yourselves” (v9). Be careful of your hearts. Be careful of your tongues. Your job is to testify by the power of the Spirit, despite enduring the hardest things you can think of—not to calculate the end of the world. You have what you need to escape the Fall of Jerusalem, so now watch yourselves!
That’s essentially the broader message for the rest of us between 70 A.D. and God-only-knows-when. That’s literally the timing of the second coming. Even the Son, in His human nature, does not know that day and hour. So, it’s so far above our spiritual pay grade, that we cannot even see it from here.
Instead, let us remember that we have a Master who is returning we-know-not-when. And let us spend every second between now and then serving Him the way we will wish we had when He appears!
What is one way that you will implement to better serve your Master?Suggested songs: ARP73C “Yet Constantly I Am with You” or HB303 “Be Thou My Vision”