In class the other day, I gave my current understanding of what’s going on in Matthew 24…
Key Question: When will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming?
Note: The disciples don’t know that Jesus is going yet, so why are they asking about his coming? I think they mean his ‘coming to power,’ in the sense that God ‘comes’ from the Mount of Olives to Jerusalem to take power in Zechariah 14.
Key Answer: Do not be led astray
Note: Jesus’ answer assumes that they are over-excitedly expecting this to happen swiftly. They were right to detect eschatological significance in Jesus’ pronouncements about the temple, but wrong to expect immediacy.
- 24:1-3: Jesus’ comments about the temple prompt eschatological expectation
- 24:4-14: The BIG PICTURE: The fullness of Jesus’ coming is delayed, and the close of the age is drawn out until then. That period of delay will be marked by destruction, falling away of Christians, and the spread of the gospel
- 24:15-28: A close up of the DELAY: So, given the above, don’t be fooled into thinking that the invasion of Jerusalem is the close of the age: these are just the beginnings of birth pangs
- 24:29-31: A close up of the END: After those things, then will happen the final ‘coming’ of the Son of Man
- 24:32-44: WHEN will these things happen?: The items accompanying the time of DELAY are like a fig tree in leaf: they show that the END is on its way. In fact, all of these things will happen during the lifetime of the disciples’ generation
- 24:45-51: In view of this, the disciples should not allow the DELAY to cause them to become lazy or evil.