Highlights In Today's Reading:
Shocking news of the horrible fate of hypocritical religious leaders revealed (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)!
Jesus, as Lord of the Temple (and all people and things), had driven out the moneychangers (21:12-13; Mark 11:15-17; Luke 19:45-46; John 2:14-16) and exposed the hypocrisy of the religious leaders. The pretended piety of the Pharisees and the scribes had won for both a reputation of religious superiority. Still less spiritual were the liberal Sadducees, who neither pretended nor practiced worship as revealed by God to Moses.
During His last day in the Temple, our Lord strongly denounced these religious leaders, calling the Pharisees hypocrites . . . (who) for a pretence make long prayer. . . . outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. . . . ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? (Matt. 23:13-33). Jesus concluded His condemnation by saying: Behold, your House (the Temple) is left unto you desolate (forsaken by God) (23:38).
Then Jesus went east of Jerusalem and sat on the Mount of Olives with His disciples. As they admired the Temple, Jesus said: There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. And as He sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto Him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world? (24:2-3).
The reply Jesus gave was threefold. It included the soon-to-come destruction of Jerusalem, the far more distant time of His earthly return, and the still later end of the (present) world (age). Jesus made it known that of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but My Father only (24:36). The chief purpose of prophecy should always be an incentive to personal spiritual growth and living in expectation of the imminent return of Christ. Therefore be ye also ready (24:44).
Our greatest concern should be to respond to the appeal of the Holy Spirit who led Peter to record: Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the Day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat. . . . Wherefore, beloved . . . be diligent that ye may be found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless (II Pet. 3:12,14).
Thought for Today:
When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory (Col. 3:4).
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 Bible Pathway Printer: Ambrose Printing Staff, Nashville TN • Government Official: Rep. Joseph Pitts (PA) • Country: Gambia (1 million) in West Africa • Major languages: English and Mandinka • Religious freedom • 87% Muslim; 10% animism and ancestral spirit worship; 2% Roman Catholic; .7% Protestant • Prayer Suggestion: Ask for forgiveness for particular sins (Ps. 51:1-9).
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 15:8