Vs. 4, “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?” Jesus had just finished telling the disciples that the Temple and it’s beauty would soon be destroyed (vs. 1-4). It was almost impossible to believe and the Temple was the sign of God’s presence for them. But, there would be a new spiritual temple in the church that would be coming soon. Jesus now spends the next section of our chapter addressing signs both good and bad that will come (vs. 5-23). I want to preface something important: Jesus does not give us any specific dates for a reason. Biblical scholars are divided when it comes to the interpretation of Jesus’ signs. Some believe it only applied to the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. Others believe that it has a dual meaning that applied for the disciples during the temple destruction but also for future believers during the Tribulation in Revelation. Differences in interpretations should not divide the church. The general principles of being watchful apply to all generations until Jesus returns! We are in the birth pains (vs. 8) and the signs should be obvious just as a fig tree is about to bloom (vs. 28). Even Jesus does not know the time or date of His own return, only the Father (vs. 32). We must be ready to live in difficult times.
Regarding application…Be Watchful! Vs. 37, “What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!” Jesus reminded us of one major criterion: The Gospel must be preached to all nations (vs. 10) before Jesus returns. Wycliffe Bible Translators estimate that only 209 million people have yet to have a bible translation in their language. Brothers and sisters, we are so very close! With the continued efforts of preaching, missions and global technology, we are almost at the end of the race! Like the doorkeeper (vs. 34-36), let us be ready when the owner (Jesus) returns. There are times when I selfishly wish it were now. But there are also times when I forget about Jesus’ warnings when my own life seems to be too difficult to handle. I remember when I was a little kid, I was so excited to go visit a big city with tall buildings. No matter how long the trip, I would fight to stay awake so I could see the first glimpse of the approaching city! Likewise, let us be always watchful and alert for the day and hour when Jesus will return. Lord, please come soon!