This is probably the most difficult chapter of Matthew to understand. So stay with me, as we plod our way through it. I actually hope you don’t feel that it is plodding, but rather discovering truths that before had remained hidden. The operative verses in this passage are found in vss. 36, 42, 44. Reread them and see if you get a sense for what Jesus is saying. Jesus is saying that the last days are coming, and in fact today we are closer to the last days than we were yesterday. Tomorrow we will be even a day closer than we were today. But, and this is key, we do not know when that day is coming. We cannot predict that day, we cannot line up historical events that are happening in our day or that have happened in the past and try to say that we are this close because we can predict the days in Scripture. According to Matthew, we cannot predict.
What we do know is that Jesus is coming back. Before he comes back there will be suffering and difficulty and false teachers and false prophets. There will be people who come and try to lead Jesus’ disciples away from the truths of Scripture, these truths that focus upon a relationship between God and neighbor. There will be those who say that the only thing that matters is a relationship with Jesus and how we treat people on this earth doesn’t really matter. There will be those who say that the more finances you give to the church then the more God will bless you financially, and that is the goal, isn’t it, to be secure financially? Matthew says don’t listen to any of these people. These messages don’t change everything, in fact, they don’t change anything.
Above you will find the wailing wall. This wall is the last remaining wall of the grounds of the temple in Jerusalem. Chapter 24 begins with Jesus coming out of the temple. It could have been at this exit where Jesus departed the temple, we just don’t know (you may notice some familiar faces, or at least backs in this picture). But it is called the wailing wall because this wall reminds the people of Israel that the promises that God has made will not come about until the temple is rebuilt within this wall. If you look at the right side of the picture just above the wall you will see the top of a mosque which is situated within the temple grounds. For the people of Israel this is also something about which to wail.
The verses that I gave you previously reminds us that Jesus commands us to be vigilant and always ready because we can never know when He will be coming back again. It is a great lesson for us whenever we slip into complacency. There needs to be a constant sense of urgency in our faith walk, for who knows, just right now the Lord might call us away.