Jesus’ disciples ask him when the destruction of the temple will happen that Jesus has prophesied.
Jesus warns them not to be lead astray or deceived. Jesus warns they will be witnesses and the Holy Spirit will give them the words to say at the right time. The gospel must be preached in all nations before He will return. Jesus warns that his followers will be hated and beaten, but to stand firm will be salvation. Jesus prophesies about the abomination that brings desolation and says to let the people flee quickly. Jesus warns that this time will the worst distress – ever – but God will shorten those days. At that darkest time, people will see the Son of man coming in the clouds and in power and glory! Jesus warns of false messiahs and prophets in those times – preying on the people’s fear. I have told you all beforehand. He will send his angels to gather his elect from wherever they are. This generation will not pass away before these things will have happened. Jesus says to be on your guard; you do not know the time or day.
The core message Jesus is delivering here to his disciples is what they should be doing in light of the approaching end times. This message consists of several verbs woven into a lot of detail about what will or will not happen. Those verb phrases are: ‘Watch out… Do not be alarmed… Be on your guard… The gospel must be preached to all nations… Just say whatever is given you at the time… stand firm to the end… Let the people flee… Do not be deceived be on your guard … I have told you everything beforehand… Be on guard… be alert… Do not him find you sleeping… Keep watch… watch!”
The net of it is this: there will be dark times of distress followed by the return of Jesus himself at a time unknown where He will gather his own to him from wherever they are. Until then, He tells his followers that the gospel must be first preached by them (and us) to all nations, that they (and we) will be hated for it, that the Holy Spirit will gives us words to say, and that Jesus will come back to gather us to himself no matter where we are.
I believe “be alert” and “watch” sets our urgency and not our focus! Jesus clearly says many will try to deceive us about where, when and how He will return. Our instruction here is not to focus on such things. This means we should have the urgency of alertness and watching, but our focus and energy should be about the things that must be accomplished before he can return – preaching the gospel to all nations.
Dear Lord, would you help me to focus not on the questions of when You will return and whether this prophesy or that is true. Instead, would you God help me through your Holy Spirit to rely on “what you told us beforehand”- Your Word – and would you stir in me the urgency to be focused on preaching the gospel to all nations as my “main thing”? Jesus, help me make your Main Thing (the gospel to all nations) my Main Thing. Amen.
Posted on Fri, July 31, 2015
by Brian Landers