Reading for Thursday, July 12: Matthew 24
In Matthew 24, we come to the Olivet Discourse. Many scholars have discussed Jesus’ words here. Is He responding to both of their questions in v3? Or is He only replying to the second question? And if He is responding only to the second question, how do we make sense of v34? “Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.”
These are questions that require much study and reflection, more than we’ll be able to take up here on this page. But as you read, I think it is helpful to keep a few things in mind:
- Jesus encourages His followers to live in light of His return. However you choose to understand this chapter, it is clear that Jesus wants His followers to be certain of His impending return.
- Jesus encourages His followers to be ready for His imminent return. Not only does He want them to be aware of His return, Jesus expects His followers to live in readiness. Like the Israelites hastily observing the Passover meal, ready for God’s liberation, so too are Jesus’ disciples to live in expectant anticipation of His return. This teaching is carried over in the next chapter with the Parable of the Ten Virgins. “Therefore you also must be ready…” (v44).
- Jesus encourages His followers to endure until He comes. “And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” (v12-13). Look again at the progression of events: lawlessness increases, the love of many decreases, but those who endure (presumably, in love) will find salvation. Endurance is more than just holding our nose until we get to heaven with a grin-and-bear-it mentality. It’s an enduring commitment to the way of love, the way that Jesus will model for us as He heads to Calvary.