Parents have typically asked their children that question at some point in their lives. In Matt 24, a controversial chapter to say the least, the same question can be asked of the disciples. Mark 13 provides some additional insight into the events.
The disciples were at the temple admiring it's splendor when Jesus tells them no stone will be left unturned. They ask, when will these things take place? Jesus gives a long discourse on the meaning of signs and some think He is referring to the end of the world. This is about what God is really doing with His temple.
It's doubtful they had any real idea of what He was referring to. Consider the events that had transpired recently - Lazarus being raised from the dead; Jesus cleansing the temple; Jesus triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Things are coming to a head with his ministry. Does this mean an earthly kingdom is at hand?
That's what they had to be thinking. Jesus is going to become king and set up His kingdom here, use His power. Jesus says:
1. Your understanding is limited. This is not going to be a physical kingdom, it's not about this place. False prophets will arise to mislead, do not believe them. The coming of the Son of Man will be like a flash of lightning. He's not just saying this is about the destruction of the temple in AD 70. He's not saying that's when his kingdom will come, that actually happens in Acts 2. It will be about the end of the kingdom as they know it.
God is always doing things on a scale, a scope, that is beyond us. Psalm 78 is relevant here. These things were being anticipated even in the times of the Psalms. David, Asaph and other Psalmists could not have known what God was ultimately planning.
God is still working a very intricate and fascinating tapestry even now. We don't have to know all of the answers.
2. Matt 24 serves as an emphatic declaration that Jesus temple will not be in a physical building.
3. Focus on My words, He says. Many believe there is a transition in verses 35-36 to end of the world. But look first at verse 34. Jesus says these things will transpire during the current generation. His words last. There is something reliable and solid to rely upon even when things seems to be falling apart all around.
- when you don't know where to turn, what to believe...
- when the shocking news comes....
- when you feel you have no answers...
- when doubts, fears and cares beset...
(ever been here? Certainly, most, if not all, of us have. There are times when we just don't understand).
The answer? Go immediately, confidently, trustingly to the reigning king. Cast all your cares upon Him. Be anxious for nothing. Believe He will do as He has promised.