Matthew 24/25 Revisited: Who You Know

 

Kelli and Peter sitting on a camel with the Temple Mount in the background

Kelli and Peter sitting on a camel with the Temple Mount in the background

The last two days I have been looking through the Olivet Discourse.  The disciples walk up the Mount of Olives and they look back across the valley to the temple complex and they marvel at the great stones that have been used to build such a magnificent building.  Jesus responds with the simple truth that quite soon these stones will no longer be standing one upon the other.  The disciples are marveled and ask when these things will occur and when the end of all time will occur.  Jesus lists various signs of apocalypse and doom, but he lists them in ways that show these terrible events to be quite common in history.  These things will happen, but te end is yet to come.  When Jesus does come no-one will need to tell anyone about it.  The event will be obvious like lightning or circling vultures.

The thrust of Jesus’ message has two main points.  One is that people must live in a state of readiness.  Jesus could return at any time.  If one tried to guess when that was, in order to modify their behaviour for the moment, it would show in some way that their heart was wrong.  The heart of the disciple lives in great anticipation of the Lord’s coming.  It is like a lover who looks out of their window each morning hoping and wanting for their absent lover to arrive home at any time.

Matthew 25 contains three parables that have the same main thrust.  The idea in the parable of the virgins, the talents and the sheep and goats  is that those who are rejected did not know the master.  At the end of all time the measure of all things is not what was done, but who it was done for.  It is not whether we obeyed God but whether we knew the God we thought we served.  Do you know God?

Prayer

Dear God, I want to know you.  I want to have a personal relationship that grows daily.  I want to gain insight from biblical study and I want to grow closer through prayer.

Questions

  1. What signs of the end times does Jesus cover?
  2. How does Jesus want for us to prepare for the end times?
  3. What do the last three parables convey about the most important thing relating to final judgment?
  4. Are you anticipating the second coming or is it far from your mind?
  5. How can you cultivate a life that knows Jesus more?
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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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6 Responses to Matthew 24/25 Revisited: Who You Know

  1. kevin w. says:

    Jesus’ words on the “end times” have been a source of great consternation for me. On the one hand, what Jesus describes seems to be indicative of the temple destruction and His return as separate events. On the other hand He says that “this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.” It frustrates me every time I read this passage because my mind so longs to make sense of it all.
    However, the point of it all is really to warn His followers to be ready. What does it mean to be ready? Jesus gives some negative and positive examples of what this looks like. Themes of obedience, diligence, and focus arise, but these are illustrated to be mere indicators of whether or not the follower knew and was known by God. Our best way to be prepared for Christ’s coming is to be in authentic relationship with Him such that we long for His return and are consciously living in light of that reality.
    I hope the second coming is soon, but I really don’t know when it will be. I just want to make sure I spend real and intimate time with God through honest communication in prayer, community, and His word.

  2. Christina Zezulak says:

    I am amazed with how much this relates to my morning. I was speaking to the Lord in my mind about how desperately I want Him to return. I don’t need to get married, have children, or do a single thing before He comes. I want to be with my first love, the treasure of my heart! These words really spoke to me, “The heart of the disciple lives in great anticipation of the Lord’s coming. It is like a lover who looks out of their window each morning hoping and wanting for their absent lover to arrive home at any time.”
    My deepest desire is to know Jesus more. Sometimes I feel like i’ve hit a wall, but I know that’s a lie. I want to know Him more! I want to be so in tune with the Spirit that every word, every thought, every step that I take is aligned with Him. To cultivate a life that knows Jesus more, I need to continuously be in prayer, in the Word, and taking time to just be in His presence. I find myself most connected with Him during the times when i’m in my prayer closet, praising His name in song and in speech, and nourishing my soul with His truth.

  3. Bronwyn says:

    “The heart of a disciple lives in great anticipation of the Lord’s coming.” I was struck by this also in the reading of 1st Peter 1 yesterday. So much of our daily joy in this life and our motivation for enduring suffering is to stem from our “forward looking” to Heaven and Christ’s return. Christ’s return and/or salvation in the sense of our final, complete deliverance from sin is possibly mentioned a minimum of four times in 1st Peter 1 alone. Colossians 3:2 says we are to, “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”

    I think there’s different ways of desiring Christ’s return. One can long for His return with groans and tears, or one can rejoice in the certainty of His coming with giddy expectancy. Both types of “desiring” are to be well, desired. 🙂 The former is a longing for this promise to be realized in actuality, and the latter is the joyous celebration of faith that His words are true and He is coming. I think the latter stems out of the former. It probably would’ve helped if I mentioned them in that order. We rejoice at His promises of coming to get us and bring us home, but then as we wait, the more we believe we go back and forth from longing and groaning and petitioning to calmly accepting His timing and words and clinging to them…

    I know I don’t live in this “great anticipation” enough. I think sometimes I actually wrongly feel I would be callous in longing for Christ’s return, when dear friends, family, neighbors, kids I know do not yet know the LORD. I know this is wrong thinking though..

    On another thought, I think I can see your point Mr.Worrall in stressing actually knowing Christ over doing good deeds, yet I disagree somewhat… I think if we know Christ we obey Him- that’s evidence of true faith. I don’t know I’d have to study Matthew 24 and 25 more. Perhaps I feel like I’ve heard lately in general doing good deeds being bashed, but I see in so much of Scripture the importance that the righteous live a righteous life and how much God delights in that, and that’s why I’m motivated to write what I did…

    • Plymothian says:

      I actually agree that the good deeds are important. I think they are a sign that the relationship is there. However, because they come from the relationship, I believe the relationship is primary.

      Good thoughts, Bronwyn.

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