Summary: A cosimple approach to Jesus’ teaching about his second coming.
SERIES: WALKING WITH JESUS
“THE SERVANT’S SECOND COMING”
One of the most controversial subjects in Christianity is that of the End Times. There are several viewpoints concerning Jesus’ Second Coming and some folks have turned these viewpoints into matters of salvation. If you don’t believe the way they do, you’re obviously a heretic. If you agree with them, then you are certainly one of God’s elect.
Without going into a lot of detail, most of these viewpoints are simply opinion. Based on Scripture, I could comfortably argue for at least two of these viewpoints. There is room for debate. And I truly believe that no one understands this biblical doctrine completely. I have been studying it for over 30 years and still have trouble sorting out all the details.
With that in mind, I invite you to join me this morning as we look at Jesus’ teaching in Mark 13. It teaches us some important things. First, we’re going to look at the setting into which this teaching is given. Second, we’re going to look at each section of Mark 13 and interpret it the best that we can. Second, we’re going to apply what Jesus is teaching to our lives.
Mk. 13:1-2 – “As he was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Look, Teacher! What massive
stones! What magnificent buildings!’ ‘Do you see all these great buildings?’ replied Jesus. ‘Not one stone
here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.’”
Starting back in Mark 11, Jesus has declared the Jerusalem temple to be invalid. The cursing of the fig tree and the cleansing of the temple show his disdain for this Jewish symbol of God’s presence among his people. In the time following the cleansing of the temple, Jesus has been teaching in the temple courts. While there he has been confronted by the different groups within the Jewish leadership where they have tried to trap him with questions. They failed miserably.
As Jesus leaves the temple for the very last time (there would be no more public teaching) the disciples remark about the glory and the splendor of the temple. The temple building at this time was not the one Solomon built. It was destroyed by the Babylonians. This is the temple that was started by Ezra when the exiles returned.
Herod the Great began a grand reconstruction on the building around 20 B.C. and that reconstruction project continued until around 64 A.D. He expanded the original temple into one of the great architectural wonders of the ancient world. Many of the stones were massive chunks of white limestone. Josephus tells us that the temple building was so dazzling in the sun that people had to avert or cover their eyes as they walked toward the city. He says that from miles away that it appeared as a large snow-covered mountain. The temple was built on a massive stone platform and its courts and buildings made up about 1/6th of the land mass of the city of Jerusalem.
Perhaps the disciples thought that since Jesus had been spending so much time at the temple during this final week of his life that he was going to make the temple the headquarters for his new kingdom. They had already been arguing over who would hold the most important positions in the kingdom.
Can you imagine the look on their faces when they heard what Jesus said? The joy of every Jew was the temple. It was magnificent and only had a short time to exist. And Jesus was right. When the Romans sought to quell a Jewish rebellion starting in the year 66 A.D., they eventually took the city of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. and destroyed the temple.
This teaching of Jesus is very difficult to interpret. Jesus is intentionally vague on some things and specific on others. It seems that Jesus starts out talking about one thing and then ends it by talking about something else.
Mk. 13:3-37 – “As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John and
Andrew asked him privately, ‘Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are
all about to be fulfilled?’ Jesus said to them: ‘Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my
name, claiming, I am he, and will deceive many. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be
alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom
against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains. You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them. And the gospel