August 22

Text: Matthew 24:32-36

"Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender, and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; even so you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door.  Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.  Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall not pass away.  But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.”  (NASB)

Just as the sprouting of the fig tree predicted the summer’s arrival, the occurrence of these things predicted the event would happen immediately.  Is Jesus speaking of the temple’s fall or of his return?  The discussions focus on the meaning of (in the original) “generation” and of “all these things.”

Jesus affirmed his declarations were certain. Then he affirmed that his return was an unknown.  No one—including him or all heavenly angels—knew that time.  That moment was known only to God the Father, and He had not confided that information to anyone.

The last statement suggested that the previous signs referred to the temple’s fall, not Jesus’ return.  How could there be certain signs to an immediate event if the time of the event was a true unknown and unrevealed?  People have discussed these matters for centuries.

The temple that the disciples asked about fell in 70 A.D.—about 30 years from the time Jesus made this statement.  It has not been rebuilt and the land on which it stood is not today under Jewish control.  The unthinkable happened, and Jewish history was altered forever.

Perhaps a thought we can glean from the statement is this: because something is humanly unthinkable does not mean it cannot happen.  Human “now” thought does not limit “future” possibilities.  Because something is beyond our imagination does not mean it cannot happen.

Life is uncertain.  The more we remove current uncertainties, the more new uncertainties appear.  You and I deal with realities our grandfathers could not imagine.  Wonder what things that we cannot imagine will be reality to our grandchildren?  One reality will remain: physical life will be uncertain!

Suggestion for reflection:  In what do you trust?  Why?  (Read Psalm 19.)

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 Copyright 2011 David Chadwell