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  • For those who are participating in the Lent reading plan, do you have any highlights or thoughts to share from the past week?

In many ways this chapter is like a puzzle, as Michael Green explains in his Bible Speaks Today commentary on Matthew:

Jesus gathers his disciples around him privately and speaks to them about the future. In the middle distance is the judgment at the fall of Jerusalem. In the far distance is the judgment at the end of the world. They are connected. The one sheds light on the other. And the intertwining comes out in this remarkable prophecy that follows.

As you read this prophecy of Jesus, keep Green's words in mind... you might even want to use two different highlighters to highlight what you think is 'in the middle distance' and what is 'in the far distance'.

Read Matthew 24:1-35

As we have said, some parts of this chapter are hard to understand. So first, we will focus on what is most clear:

  • What aspects of these verses clearly refer to the fall of Jerusalem (and the destruction of the temple) that took place in 70AD?

  • What aspects of these verses clearly refer to the end of the world?

  • What then are the overall 'big ideas' of this chapter, linking these two events together?

  • And now, how are we to use what we've figured out from what is clear to interpret the aspects of this chapter that are not clear? Do you have any new insights now to make sense of the trickier parts?

Read Matthew 24:36-51

  • Which future (middle distance or far distance) do you think Jesus is talking about here - the fall of Jerusalem or the end of the world? How can you tell?

  • Consider what Jesus means by each of the images in these verses (the days of Noah; the ones taken and left behind; the thief in the night; the wise and wicked servants)? How do these four images build on one another? What do they add up to?

  • What is the main things Jesus wants his disciples to do with this information at the time he's speaking it here? And what do you think he is equipping them with for later in their lives? And what is there here for us 2000 years later?

  • What does Jesus mean here by 'ready'? What do you think it looks like practically to be living in a constant state of 'readiness'? Do we live life like that? Why/why not?

  • Do you look forward to Jesus's return? Why/why not?

  • What would it look like for you to live with more readiness every day?

Spend some time praying together about these things - and especially praying that we would not be complacent or distracted, but living in readiness.


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