In the final days before the Cross, the disciples spoke with Jesus on the Mount of Olives. Imagine hearing Jesus say that the temple will be destroyed.
Who knows exactly what went on in their minds, but the questions that they asked afterward indicate that they linked the destruction of the temple with “the end of the world” (Matt. 24:3).
Read Matthew 24:1-25. What overall message did Jesus give to His followers about the last days?
Matthew 24:1-25 makes it clear that, among other things, Christ is concerned with deceptions that will confuse His people through the ages and into the end time. Among those deceptions will be false prophets and false Christs. Some will come claiming to represent Christ (false prophets), and some will come claiming to be Christ. And the terrible thing is, people will believe them, too.
We have seen a sad but powerful confirmation of the Word of God. All through history, and even in our day, deceivers have indeed come, saying, “I am the Christ.” What a remarkable prophecy! Living in the time that we do, we can survey the long centuries of history and see (in ways those who lived in Christ’s time couldn’t) just how accurate that prediction was. We shouldn’t be surprised, either, if deceptions like these only increase as we near the final crisis.
Also, in the context of affirmation of faith, look at how Jesus depicted the state of the world. At various times in earth’s history since Christ, people had placed their hope in things they believed would eliminate or at least greatly reduce the sufferings and woe of humanity. Be it political movements or technology or science or reason — at one time or another people have placed great hope that these things would usher in a utopia here on earth. As the painful witness of history has shown again and again, these hopes have always proven ill-founded. The world today is just as Jesus said it would be. Christ’s words, spoken almost two thousand years ago, show just how misguided those hopes really have been.
Read Matthew 24:25. What can we take away from this that should help affirm us in our faith?