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Be on your Guard

Wednesday, March 20th
Be On Your Guard!
By: Pastor Melissa Beauvais

Matthew 24:1-28

1 Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. 2 “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”

3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.

9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’[a] spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.

22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.

26 “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.

Jesus speaking directly to His disciples, His public ministry is coming to an end, and it is the direct teaching to the twelve that follows. The final discourse of Jesus’ teachings and it is apocalyptic literature. Our English definition of the Greek word apokalypsis, tends to make this a doom and gloom definition. However, its true meaning is “an uncovering” or “to take off”. Jesus in this chapter is uncovering the disciple’s prophecy and warning.

Jesus first predicts the destruction of the temple. For the Jewish people, this event is catastrophic and could have meant the end of all things. Which may have sparked the question asked by His disciples in v.3. Jesus links this event to other events that will occur, natural disasters, famine, and false prophets pretending to be the Messiah. He instructs the disciples to keep watch and be on their guard.

Jesus’ prophecy in these verses has happened (the destruction of the temple in 70AD) and will happen (eschatological effects aka end times). Though a timeline is not given, because that is not the point, He does give warning. Be on your guard!

How you live today matters for eternity. The urgency and the unexpectedness should lead us to check ourselves, our motives, our hearts. Do we just look the part by doing all the right things or are we living into the relationship Jesus has offered? This relationship will direct you, guard you, and guide you because the Holy Spirit dwells within your body, the new temple. The destruction of the temple does not destroy Jesus’ ministry and the mission of God. However, many will come and try. Stay alert. Stay on mission. Stay with Jesus.

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