Summary: Jesus is coming again. I’m more sure of this that water being wet and dirt being dry. Jesus is coming again. Stay alert. Stay awake.
This a three-month long study of just one week in the life of Jesus. The power of this week lies in all that happened. And it deserves both retelling and a careful scrutiny. Bracketed by Palm Sunday on one end and Easter Sunday on the other, this is the most important week in history. On Friday, Jesus will die. On Thursday, Judas will betray Him. Today’s focus is again, on Tuesday.
Jesus visits a worship service on Tuesday, where He sees a widow give everything she has. And then Jesus begins teaching on the destruction of the Temple and His Second Coming. Matthew includes three unique parables that we will not have time for: Jesus’ parable of the Ten Virgins, His parable on the talents, and His teaching on the sheep and the goats. In the last few hours of Jesus’ life, He devotes Himself to teaching about the upheaval of Jerusalem and His Second Coming. This is known as the Olivet Discourse. This is the longest section in the gospels devoted to Jesus’ one-day return, which is commonly called the Second Coming. Jesus Himself said that even He did not know when He was coming. Again, Jesus said the time of His coming is a sealed mystery known to the Father alone. Even the angels of heaven do not know. And any man who says he knows when Jesus Christ is coming is lying. So we are not to speculate on dates. We are not speculate on the day. The hallway of history is littered with corpses of false prophets who had claimed to have figured out the exact date of the Second Coming. Beware of anyone who enters into empty speculation about the exact date of Jesus’ Second Coming.
The Second Coming is not to be topic for argumentation but accept His coming. It’s not to be a source for division or debate. Instead, Jesus Second Coming is to be a source of inspiration. It should be something we think about to lift one another up – to encourage one another in our work for the Lord. The Second Coming should be a source of motivation. Jesus’ coming again should keep us on alert at our post. We need to be looking for the Second Coming. We need to be longing for the Second Coming. We need to be living for the Second Coming. And we need to be learning about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. We should be ready when He comes again.
1. The Temple’s Future
In Mark 13 and Matthew 24, it is the inner circle of disciples that mention the beautiful temple as they all sat on the Mount of Olives viewing Jerusalem and the temple across the Kidron Valley. The Temple was still under construction at the time and would be so for another thirty years. It was a seemingly innocent question about the Temple. And most anyone would have commented on the Temple for it was beautiful.
In fact, some of the stones being used were up to sixty-seven feet in length and eighteen feet wide. White marble in its appearance, the Temple was decorated by gold and silver everywhere. “And while some were speaking of the temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and offerings, he said, ‘As for these things that you see, the days will come when there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down’ (Luke 21:5-6). The disciples knew that the Messiah was going to come to Jerusalem and establish his kingdom. They believed that Jesus was the Messiah and they were wondering when he was going to go back to Jerusalem and set up his reign over this earth. Even though they were reading from the same book as Jesus was, they were not quite on the same page. You see, the disciples were thinking about a successful coming. They thought that Jesus was going to march right into Jerusalem immediately, conquer the Romans, and exalt the Jewish nation in order to set up his kingdom. But Jesus began to speak of His second coming. The reason was this: they could see the crown, but they could not see the cross. They could see Jesus sitting on a throne, but they could not see Jesus hanging on a tree.
Again, the magnificence of the temple and its contents constantly aroused wonder among spectators and visitors alike. The Temple was destroyed just as Jesus predicted some forty years after He made this prediction.
2. Jerusalem’s Future
Their first question is followed by a second question. And it’s here that Jesus expands from the destruction of the Temple to the destruction of the city of Jerusalem. “Teacher, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when these things are about to take place” (Luke 21:8)? Jesus grants their request and gives them some signs of what is coming next. Now signs are for seeing. Signs are to let us know that the end is near.