Friday, July 13, 2012

Matthew Chapter 24

Here we see Jesus acting as a prophet. All the prophets leading up to this point have told of his coming. And now that he is here, he begins to prophesy about what is coming. 

Here’s a schematic of his prophecy:
1.     The Destruction of the Temple – vv. 1-2
2.     The Signs of His Coming and the Close of the Age – vv. 3-8
3.     Persecutions Foretold – vv. 9-14
4.     Sacrileges Exposed – vv. 16-28
5.     The Coming of the Son of Man – vv. 29-31
6.     What the Fig Tree teaches – vv. 32-35
7.     An Admonition to Watchfulness and accompanying Parable – vv. 36-51

This discourse of Jesus serves the same purpose for his disciples as the discourse from the last chapter served for the Scribes and Pharisees. While the discourse continues into chapter 25 with two more parables and the section known as the Judgment on the Nations, Jesus is attempting to move the hearts of his listeners to repentance and acceptance of his Message.  Last chance… train’s leaving the station!

There is a sense of urgency here that perhaps Jesus’s audience would have been more responsive to.  To hear Jesus use some of the language he does, especially the image of vultures in v. 28 and the cosmic images in v. 29-30, one wonders if that would have accomplished repentance through fear or a sense of urgency rather than a slow conversion process. So, this begs the question: is Jesus trying to scare them straight?

Point for Prayer
Pray with this sense of urgency that Jesus’s language engenders.  How does it settle in your heart and in your conscience?  Take those thoughts, feelings and desires and invite the Lord into them.

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