As you read each passage, pray for God’s help. Ask yourself:
- What does God reveal about Himself?
- How is your own heart revealed?
- How does this passage underline the wonder of God’s love for us in Jesus Christ, and your own need of Christ as Saviour and Lord?
- Turn these truths into prayer and praise.
1 May Mt 24:1-3
Jesus foretells the judgement that will soon fall on the temple (v.2). This provokes the disciples to ask when this will happen (v.3). But they also ask about the end of the age (v.3). Perhaps they assumed (wrongly) that the destruction of the temple would immediately be followed by Jesus’ return. But as we’ll see, in Mt 24 Jesus does not answer the WHEN question, but the WHAT: what should we be doing in the present age? Obedience in the present is better than speculation about the future.
2 May Mt 24:4-14
Jesus describes life on earth between His first and second comings. We should not be surprised that sin produces upheaval and distress of every kind, including persecution of the church. Nor should we be deceived by self-proclaimed messiahs who promise to sort this world’s ills. Instead, we should get on with gospel ministry, undeterred by hardship, confident that God will bring restore His broken world at the right time (v.14). Once again, Jesus is equipping us for present service, not future speculation.
3 May Mt 24:15-21
Jesus foretold the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple which took place in AD 70. The disciples had asked specifically about this (vv.2-3), and now Jesus addresses the issue (vv.15-16). The appalling suffering of those days foreshadows the final judgement at the end of the world. Jerusalem was judged for its rejection of the prophets, and ultimately of Christ. So it will be at the end of time for all who have persisted in rejecting God’s mercy. Jerusalem’s tragedy should drive us to God.
4 May Mt 24:22-28
Since Jerusalem’s distress prefigures the wider troubles of the present age, we might wonder how humanity can survive at all. Yet God will finally intervene and bring salvation for the sake of His people (v.22). In troubled times we are vulnerable to being misled by the claims of bogus “saviours” (vv.23-25); hence Jesus repeats His earlier warning (compare vv.4-5). We should not flirt with these false claims. When Jesus returns for us, there will be no uncertainty about it (vv.26-28).
5 May Mt 24:29-35
Thank God, the appalling distress of this present age will not have the last word. It will be overtaken by the glory of Christ’s return, and while His enemies mourn, His elect people will be gathered to safety at last (vv.29-31). As spring gives way to summer, so Christ’s return will certainly follow this present age (vv.32-34). We cannot know the precise date (v.36), but we can live in the light of the promise, because Jesus words stand forever (v.35). Set your course through life by the promise of His coming.
6 May Mt 24:36-41
In view of v.36, we should not spend time trying to work out a detailed calendar for our Lord’s return. The comparison with the days of Noah underlines how unexpected His coming will be. Even if troubles are increasing and persecution reaches new heights, for most people it will be “business as usual” (vv.37-39). The final and irrevocable separation of believers and unbelievers (vv.40-41) will catch many unawares. The only way to be ready is … to be ready at any moment. Are you ready today?
7 May Mt 24:42-51
Our sinful nature makes us slow to make changes in our life, even when we know we should (vv.42-43). Hence Jesus calls us to vigilance (v.44), because the time His coming will be unexpected. Yet our waiting is not to be passive, but active (vv.45-46). Serve the Lord faithfully and you will be richly rewarded (v.47). But to ignore or abuse our opportunities for serving Christ is to court disaster (vv.48-51). In the light of these words, would you say you are living wisely? Pray for the grace of faithfulness.