Read Matthew 23
Jesus announces the horrible fate of hypocritical religious leaders (Matt. 23:1-36)! Jesus deeply grieves over Jerusalem like He does for those who reject Him today (23:37-39). Only God knows the day (24:36)!
Following the cleansing of the Temple and the denouncing of the religious leaders as hypocrites, the Lord sat with His disciples on the Mount of Olives and foretold: Many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity (lawlessness) shall abound, the love of many shall wax (become) cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. . . . Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away (Matt. 24:11-14,35). Like the Pharisees of old, the false prophets today substitute contemporary opinions and situational ethics as a contradiction to the authority of God's Word.
On the Mount of Olives, just three days before His crucifixion, our Lord foretold the destruction of the Temple. It was destroyed according to His Word about 40 years after His resurrection. He also described to His disciples, His future return from heaven, saying: Of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but My Father only (24:36). He also warned: Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. . . . Therefore be . . . ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of Man cometh (24:42,44).
Jesus made no attempt to give details concerning the soon destruction of Jerusalem, nor the more distant end of the age. But these words from the King emphasized the importance of always being prepared by speaking a parable of two servants. Jesus said: Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. . . . But . . . if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite (beat) his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when . . . he is not aware of . . . and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt. 24:45-51).
Thought for Today:
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away (Matt. 24:35).
23:5 phylacteries scripture texts in small boxes worn by some Jews to impress others of their religious zeal; 23:15 compass to "go about," or "go around," sea and land; 23:29 garnish decorate, adorn.
For Matt. 23:39: See Ps. 118:26. Matt. 24:15: See Dan. 9:27; 11:31; 12:11. Matt. 24:29: See Is. 13:10; 24:23; 34:4; Ez. 32:7; Joel 2:10,31; 3:15; Zeph. 1:15. Matt. 24:30: See Dan. 7:13. Matt. 24:31: See Deut. 30:4; Is. 27:13; Zech. 2:6. Matt. 24:38: See Gen. 6:3-5; 7:7.
Pray for Government Official: Rep. Joseph Pitts (PA) • Country: Croatia (5 million) in southeastern Europe • Major language: Serbo-Croatian • Religious freedom • 73% Roman Catholic; 15% Serbian Orthodox; 5% Muslim • Prayer Suggestion: Pray that your decisions will always be to please the Lord (Ps. 73:24).
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 6:33