Having denounced fake religion, Jesus’ disciples point out to him how impressive the temple buildings were. Perhaps they thought that this at least was a sign of something genuine and honoring to God. Jesus, however, prophesies that—which has come true—that even the temple will be destroyed. He is now our temple, and through him we have access to God, we worship in Spirit and in truth.
In the next section, Jesus casts his eye towards the end. The key interpretive grid for these verses (which run all the way to verse 51, and that end with a parable that explains his teaching) is that Jesus again and again insists that no one knows the day or the hour when the end shall come (24:36). We are to watch out then for those who come prophesying say, “Here he is,” or “There he is,” for there will be many false christs and false prophets. But the coming again of Jesus will be as obvious as when lightning flashes across the sky—everyone will see it, “For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man” (24:27).
The section to verse 14 has a similar emphasis (24:5), adding that we are not to think that just because there are wars and rumors of wars that the end of world is about to come (24:6). These are but the beginning of birth pangs (24:8). As the world goes on, there will be difficulty and opposition, and in face of opposition, many people’s passion and love for Jesus will grow cold (24:12). But we have two great encouragements. One, the person who endures to the end will be saved: therefore, endure! Two, the gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world: therefore, evangelize and preach!
Christian, in face of difficulty, do not fear, but trust. For you know that in the power of Christ, and with his Spirit, you can endure—and if you do endure, you will be saved! And also, proclaim the gospel. For it is God’s plan that this gospel will be proclaimed throughout the whole world.
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