Wednesday in the Twenty-Fifth Week of Ordinary Time

Matthew 24:1-14; Mark 13:1-13; Luke 21:5-19

The End Is Not Yet

The next several devotions take up one of the more difficult passages in all the gospels.  Please bear in mind, these are devotional thoughts based on Scripture, not a running biblical commentary; there are others far more gifted than me who can do that.  But it is an extremely important passage in that each of the gospels but John records it.  It deserves careful attention.

It seems to me that much of the difficulty with interpretation has to do with the fact that Jesus is answering two different questions here.  All three record the disciples asking about when the destruction of the temple will occur.  Matthew adds that the disciples further ask “what will be the sign of your coming.”  It makes sense that the disciples would put these two events together.  Understand that the destruction of the temple would represent to these twelve Jews the most cataclysmic event of the age.  Yes, they knew that it had been destroyed before, but Herod’s temple was HUGE.  And so this whole discourse began with the disciples saying, “Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!”  And so there is a sense in which the destruction of the temple would represent for these men the “close of the age.”  Thus, much of interpretation concerns disentangling what part of the passage has to do with the destruction of the temple and what part with the second coming of our Lord.  But I must also say that I believe that the passage has an ever present meaning to it; that is, what we read isn’t only about the past (destruction of the temple) or future (second coming of Christ) but about living in the present in the light of past tribulations which will certainly return and future tribulations which are sure to come – and all of which are experienced by our brethren in other parts of the world as I write these words.

In sum, these verses deal with just that: living in the present.  There will be wars; there will be earthquakes and famines; there will be false prophets and false christs.  There have been since Christ ascended (1 John 2:18), which is why all three record Jesus saying, “But the end is not yet” or “will not be at once.”  So we are not to be alarmed by these things.  Indeed, Jesus explicitly says that we shall be betrayed even by family to the authorities.  Other Christians will grow cold by falling to the temptations of “lawlessness.”  But we are promised his presence, even to the point of not worrying over what to say as the Spirit will speak through us in that hour.  And because he will not abandon us, we shall endure to the end and receive our reward.  We shall be persecuted, we shall bear witness, and we shall be saved.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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