Here Matthew records “the Olivet Discourse,” Jesus’ last message to his disciples (Matt 24-25), answering two questions they asked him about (v. 3). Matthew and Mark’s accounts answer the second question (the signs of his coming and the end of the age), but only Luke answers the first (Luke 12:12-4, the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple).
These events are more fully described in Revelation 6–19 and refer to the coming seven-year Tribulation, God’s judgment of the world and discipline of Israel. During this time there will be a number of Jews who will trust in Christ, and Jesus here describes the conditions and experiences they will have. Jesus’ teaching gives encouragement to not lose hope (vv. 32-35) but be faithful to him and not fall into sin (vv. 36-51).
Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On
- It is important to keep in mind that here Jesus talks about Israel, not the church. Jesus does give teaching in the epistles about the relation of the church to these “end time events,” but not here.
- Though there will be much false teaching (vv. 5, 24), disturbing events (vv. 6-7), godless living (v. 12), and people will continue on with their normal lives (v. 38), Jesus encourages true believers to be faithful to and keep waiting for him. Believe what he says! (v. 35) Be busy serving him, not sinful desires! (vv. 45-51)