The Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 24:32-44; Mark 13:28-36; Luke 21:29-38


Jesus has spoken both of the coming destruction of Jerusalem and his own return on the clouds of glory.  As I have said before, these two events are intertwined in this chapter, sometimes referring specifically to one, sometimes to the other, but never to the exclusion of either.  Today’s lesson centers around the warning of readiness; that is, whether you are a Jew living in Jerusalem from 66-70 A.D. who will experience the horrors of the Roman siege, or whether you are living at this very moment when Christ might return “like a thief in the night” and you be caught unawares and left undone – the message is the same: WATCH!  Be ready!  You do not know the hour when destruction comes.

Jesus uses the illustration of the budding fig tree which signals the approach of summer.  Likewise, he says, when you see these signs coming to fruition, know that it is near.  Then Jesus says something that has been the source of much ink as God’s people have tried to understand it: “Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.”  The confusion comes in that Jesus says this after he refers to his return from heaven at the end of time.  So it appears that Jesus thought that he would return shortly after his ascension.  And there are some who see matters this way.  But as the very next chapter in Matthew records Jesus teaching two parables which clearly indicate an interval of time before his return, Jesus obviously meant those words to refer to that present generation which would experience the destruction of Jerusalem, and not his return.

But as I have been arguing all along, the verse still has relevance for us who await his coming.  We must watch.  And we can be sure that when those signs come to pass, that generation upon whom those signs come will not pass away until all is fulfilled.  And why is this?  Jesus adds, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”  Are these the words of a mere man?  No, these are the words of God.  We may be sure that those generations upon whom those signs come to pass will experience those trials.  And for all we know, we are the very generation Jesus is talking about.  And so the next several verses speak of staying awake and being on guard.  Luke explains it best: “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.”  Jesus is telling us that the only way to prepare for that horrible day is godly living.  Only then shall we be able “to stand before the Son of Man.”  Watch!

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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