At the end of Matthew 23, Jesus reveals His heart for His people and His desire for them to recognize who He is in light of their need: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’” This is happening very close to the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry and His compassionate cry for the Jewish people is palpable.
Unfortunately, many refuse to acknowledge Jesus as Savior and the Scripture is clear that they will face judgment because of that fatal stance. In chapter 24 Jesus is asked by His disciples about the Temple and its buildings and He replies that they will all be destroyed. They then inquired of Him when this would happen and what would be the sign of His coming and of the end of the age. Jesus answers both questions throughout the next couple of chapters. Unless you are a student of history, you may not be aware that the answer to when would the temple be destroyed was made clear when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. Jesus described this event in great detail at the beginning of this chapter 40 years before it occurred.
Jesus then turns His attention to addressing the question of the end of His age and His coming back to the earth. Most people like to focus on what signs we need to be looking for and I’m not saying that is completely wrong. Jesus chooses instead to focus on His followers readiness instead of when it would occur. In fact, in verse 36 He said, “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Did you catch that? Jesus said that He didn’t even know for sure when His return would occur. That is the one thing that Jesus doesn’t know. It is in the heart of the Father and He will reveal it when it is time.
Verse 44 tells us what to do in the meantime while we wait patiently for His return. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. We need to be faithful and wise servants who are wide awake and looking for His return. We are found most faithful I believe when we are doing what Noah did in the days leading up to the flood. He continually preached to a people who didn’t want to hear about the impending catastrophe and offered them a chance to repent and find safety in the ark. Jesus will return and those who have prepared for His Second Coming will by no means be disappointed.