The last time I led our discussion we talked about the last few chapters of Matthew 24, and Jesus discussion of the coming of the Son of Man. Our conclusion was that, since the time of His return was known only to the Father, we should stay busy about the Father’s work, like the slave in the parable was busy tending to his master’s business while the master was away. But just exactly what is the Father’s business? What should we be busy doing and how should we go about it?
First a brief word on the passages we have been reading. It is known by bible scholars as the Olivet Discourse, the Olivet Prophecy or the Little Apocalypse. It is found in all of the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, 24 Mark 13, and Luke 21) and in Matthew it is the last of 5 Discourses of Jesus. In all three recountings of the discourse begins with someone commenting on the excellence of Herod’s temple in some form. Jesus tells them clearly of the coming destruction of the temple (which occurred in 70 AD at the hand of the Roman General (and later Emperor) Titus, who sacked the city and burned the temple to put down a revolt by the Jews. All this was recorded in minute detail by the Roman/Jewish historian Josephus.)
But Jesus’ comments about the temple were only prologue, meant to move peoples’ minds from the reality of the there and then to the reality that was to come. From the reality of the Kingdom ruled by Herod, and ultimately Caesar, to the reality of the Kingdom of God. And so in addition to the end of the Temple He spoke of the coming of the Son of Man and the end of the world as it has been known.