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Matthew 24:3-5: Mount of Olives

Posted by adventbiblestudy on July 17, 2012


Matthew 24:3-5 Later, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives. His disciples came to him privately and said, “Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will signal your return and the end of the world?” (4) Jesus told them, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, (5) for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many.

 

It had been a long day. Jesus spent the better part of the day teaching in the temple. As usual His disciples and followers gathered close to listen to every word. The religious leaders gathered on the other side of the court, plotting, conspiring, searching for ways to discredit Jesus in any way they could.

 

When leaving the temple court, some of the disciples decided to engage in idle chit chat by trying to impress Jesus with their knowledge of the stone temple and its construction. Their reaction to the days events saddened Jesus. He sopped, turned to the temple and said, “Do you see all these buildings? I tell you the truth, they will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!”

 

The trip that evening to the Mount of Olives was very quiet and solemn. Hardly a word was spoken. Some of the disciples reviewed the parables and lessons Jesus taught. Peter began to think to himself. He thought about what Jesus’ words concerning the religious leaders, how their ancestors had treated the prophets. He also remembered what Jesus had said about raising up new prophets. He wondered if they were the new prophets Jesus referred to. It suddenly dawned on Peter, they had been following Jesus for over three years, and He had hardly spoken a word about prophecy. Peter knew the subject of prophecy was hotly debated and defended among the religious factions in Jerusalem. He thought to himself, if I am to become an effective disciple, shouldn’t I know the prophecies? It made sense to Peter. After all, many of the people addressed Jesus as a prophet.

 

Jesus sat down in the garden, exhausted from the long day. The disciples knew He needed a moment alone to pray. As they scavenged through the brush looking for wood, Peter asked the other disciples if they considered prophecy important. John said, “it must be. It seems that is the only subject the religious leaders talk about.” His brother James added, ‘when they are not counting, or talking about their money.” As the conversation progressed, they began discussing the coming of the Savior. Of course one of them heard one interpretation, others another version. It didn’t take long for them to realize, they had little if any proof to justify their beliefs. Peter suggested, “Jesus is a prophet, let’s ask Him.”

 

They returned to where Jesus was praying in the garden. In silence they stacked the wood and started a fire. They sat around in a circle watching the flames dance while consuming the wood, taking in the atmosphere, feeling the heat on their faces.

 

Finally Jesus turned to them. They looked at His face shining back in a warm glow highlighted by the flames. It took a while before anyone spoke. Jesus knew what was on their minds as He waited. It was important for them to learn how to ask the questions that rested on their minds and made their hearts restless. At last the question was asked, “Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will signal your return and the end of the world?”

 

Jesus looked around at each of His disciples seated around the camp fire. He never saw such a serious look on all their faces. He sensed their need to advance to the next level, but they did not understand what they were asking. Although Jesus spent the better part of the day teaching them the short comings the religious leaders possessed, His disciples still looked up to them as a type of standard they wanted to achieve. Since the religious leaders concentrated their efforts on the law and prophecy, His disciples thought they had to master these subjects before they were ready to preach.

 

Jesus hesitated to give them an answer. His earlier prayers centered on understanding for His disciples. He knew the Holy Spirit was hard at work trying to reach each of them on an individual level. The longer they waited for the answer, the better prepared they were to accept the lesson He was trying to teach.

 

All twenty four eyes rested on Jesus, waiting for an answer. They wanted Him to finally explain prophecy to them, so they could go out and teach it to others. When He knew they were ready, Jesus told them, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many.

 

This was one of the most frequently contested subjects in the scriptures which separated the religious leaders. Each group clung to their own concept of the Messiah. There were also divisions within the groups based on the varied interpretations of the prophecies concerning the Messiah.

 

Jesus once again gazed upon the faces of His disciples as they weighed the evidence presented to them over the past three years against the interpretations, stories, and fables they had been taught since their youth.

 

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