The Temple Will Be Destroyed
(Matthew 24.1,2; Mark 13.1,2)
5Some people were talking about the beautiful stones used to build the temple and about the gifts that had been placed in it. Jesus said, 6“Do you see these stones? The time is coming when not one of them will be left in place. They will all be knocked down.”
Warning about Trouble
(Matthew 24.3-14; Mark 13.3-13)
7 Some people asked, “Teacher, when will all this happen? How can we know when these things are about to take place?”
Don't be fooled by those who will come and claim to be me. They will say, “I am Christ!” and “Now is the time!” But don't follow them. 9When you hear about wars and riots, don't be afraid. These things will have to happen first, but this isn't the end.
10Nations will go to war against one another, and kingdoms will attack each other. 11There will be great earthquakes, and in many places people will starve to death and suffer terrible diseases. All sorts of frightening things will be seen in the sky.
12Before all this happens, you will be arrested and punished. You will be tried in your synagogues and put in jail. Because of me you will be placed on trial before kings and governors. 13But this will be your chance to tell about your faith.
14 Don't worry about what you will say to defend yourselves. 15I will give you the wisdom to know what to say. None of your enemies will be able to oppose you or to say that you are wrong. 16You will be betrayed by your own parents, brothers, family, and friends. Some of you will even be killed. 17Because of me, you will be hated by everyone. 18But don't worry! 19You will be saved by being faithful to me.
Jerusalem Will Be Destroyed
(Matthew 24.15-21; Mark 13.14-19)
20When you see Jerusalem surrounded by soldiers, you will know that it will soon be destroyed. 21If you are living in Judea at this time, run to the mountains. If you are in the city, leave it. And if you are out in the country, don't go back into the city. 22 This time of punishment is what is written about in the Scriptures. 23It will be an awful time for women who are expecting babies or nursing young children! Everywhere in the land people will suffer horribly and be punished. 24Some of them will be killed by swords. Others will be carried off to foreign countries. Jerusalem will be overrun by foreign nations until their time comes to an end.
When the Son of Man Appears
(Matthew 24.29-31; Mark 13.24-27)
25 Strange things will happen to the sun, moon, and stars. The nations on earth will be afraid of the roaring sea and tides, and they won't know what to do. 26People will be so frightened that they will faint because of what is happening to the world. Every power in the sky will be shaken. 27 Then the Son of Man will be seen, coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28When all of this starts happening, stand up straight and be brave. You will soon be set free.
A Lesson from a Fig Tree
(Matthew 24.32-35; Mark 13.28-31)
29Then Jesus told them a story:
When you see a fig tree or any other tree 30putting out leaves, you know that summer will soon come. 31So, when you see these things happening, you know that God's kingdom will soon be here. 32You can be sure that some of the people of this generation will still be alive when all of this takes place. 33The sky and the earth won't last forever, but my words will.
34Don't spend all of your time thinking about eating or drinking or worrying about life. If you do, the final day will suddenly catch you 35like a trap. This day will surprise everyone on earth. 36Watch out and keep praying that you can escape all that is going to happen and that the Son of Man will be pleased with you.
37 Jesus taught in the temple each day, and he spent each night on the Mount of Olives. 38Everyone got up early and came to the temple to hear him teach.
Probably it’s both.
This section in the Gospel of Luke reads a bit like a modern day newspaper. A temple is destroyed! Ominous trouble clouds with threats of trials and jail! Cities destroyed forcing refugees to take cover! And finally the need to pray for a spectacular escape and rescue!
If you are a student of Bible prophecy or simply looking for how the plot ends, there is plenty of material in these verses to look carefully at for clues to future events.
While Bible prophecy has a significant role in this section of scripture, Christ has a formidable task before him as he speaks here.
Up to this point in history, people related to God largely through separate interveners such as prophets, intervening events and through following religious practice. The incarnation brought about a dramatic change as we can now relate to God personally through Christ. This is amazing and wonderful. But the message in this scripture must prepare the disciples and followers for the trauma associated with that.
The announcement of the tearing down of the temple would have been incredibly traumatic for these people. This is where the priest entered the holy of holies and intervened on their behalf. This was where they retained relics and symbols of God’s provision and their deliverance through miraculous events. It was the centre of their life and their real connection with God.
But here’s where he shifts them to a personal connection to the incarnate Christ. “I will give you wisdom…you will be saved by being faithful to me….
Even in the 21st century we need to take care not to fall into the trap of relying on our temples, eating and drinking and worrying about life.
Lord, continue to lead me in the ways of your kingdom. Take me beyond the trivialities and worries of living outside of your care and your principles. Show me how I may please so I can fulfill the life you have promised and live under your protection.