by Mike Raiter

Day 52

Read Matthew 24:1-44

Jesus' teaching on judgment continues over the next two chapters (Matthew 24-25), although now, He is speaking only to His disciples. All that Jesus says in this section is in answer to two questions His disciples ask Him (v. 3): When will this happen (the temple's destruction)? What will be the sign of your coming?

Tragically, the coming of Jesus will catch most people unawares

While some things in this chapter are difficult to understand, Jesus' main points are clear.

First, He warns the disciples not to be deceived by false messiahs or prophets. Then He gives general warnings about this present age. It will be marked by human conflicts, natural disasters, persecution, and the apostasy of many. In the midst of all this, each disciple is called upon to endure faithfully and keep preaching the gospel (vv. 4-14).

Jesus then addresses the issue of the destruction of Jerusalem (vv. 15-28), which occurred in AD 70. It will be an event of great tragedy and suffering, but the disciples must not be deceived into thinking that it heralds the imminent return of Christ to rule (v. 6).

Jesus then answers their question about His coming (vv. 29-31). It will be global, visible, and unmistakable. Importantly, while it will bring judgment for those who reject Jesus, for His followers it is the day of their final salvation, as He gathers them to himself (v. 31).

While the disciples will witness the destruction of Jerusalem (vv. 32-35), no one knows the time of Jesus' coming in glory (v. 36). In the meantime, the disciples are to remain watchful (v. 42).

Tragically, the coming of Jesus will catch most people unawares (vv. 37-41). Just as they are going about their normal, daily routines-having dinner, playing golf, riding the bus-Jesus will return. But it ought not to catch disciples by surprise (vv. 42-51). Only a foolish housekeeper who thinks there is no danger leaves the house unlocked. Similarly, Christians must live each day anticipating Jesus' return and living accordingly.

While there are some disagreements among Bible scholars over the interpretation of particular verses and images, the big message here is: be alert and ready (vv. 42, 44). It is so important that Jesus will repeat it over and over in what follows.

Think through:

What are some actions that can help us endure to the very end and ensure that our love for God will never grow cold?

Why does Jesus use the example of Noah in His teaching about His Second Coming (vv. 37-39)? What similarities are there between the people of Noah's day and today?




About Author

Mike Raiter is a preacher, preaching trainer and former Principal of the Melbourne School of Theology in Australia. He is now Director of the Centre for Biblical Preaching and the author of a number of books, including Stirrings of the Soul, which won the 2004 Australian Christian Book of the Year award.

Author of Journey Through Series:

Our Daily Bread Journey Through® Series is a publication of Our Daily Bread Ministries.

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