Matthewby Mike Raiter
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?
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.
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?