Following His confrontations with the scribes and Pharisees, Jesus and His disciples head out of the temple and make their way to the Mount of Olives. It is there Jesus charges the disciples with several things to be on guard and alert. As you read, hear Jesus’ voice speak to your heart and hear the action He desires for you to take.
Before we move to quickly to the top of the Mount of Olives, let us not pass by the walls of the temple complex without acknowledging the disciples words and what they reveal about their hearts as well as our own. The disciples had just heard Jesus reprimand the scribes and Pharisees for their hardness of heart to a relationship with God Almighty and instead of truly embracing what was said, turn to the works their people have done in building such a great temple.
Can’t you just hear the pride and boastful speech come out of their mouths regarding the place where they get to go and worship. But can you also hear the boastful speech come out of our own mouths…
“Look Jesus! What a wonderful and loving church? What great servants!”
While churches should be known for their love for God and for one another, the motive behind such knowledge had better be because of the work that Christ has done in each heart and not out of the works of man. Otherwise, what Jesus tells the disciples will be done to the temple, will also be done to the hearts of the church. It will all be torn down. God will not share His glory with another (Isaiah 42:8).
After Jesus and His disciples make it to the top of the Mount of Olives they sit and relax. Peter, James, John, and Andrew, having had time to consider what Jesus said about the temple, ask Jesus when it will happen. Jesus responds with clear directives for all believers to follow until Christ returns again.
Watch out. Don’t be deceived (13:5)
Jesus directs us to watch out and not be deceived by any who come claiming to be Jesus (13:6; Acts 19:13-16, Jeremiah 17:11)
Don’t be alarmed (13:7)
Jesus does not want us to be alarmed when we hear about by rumors of wars (Proverbs 3:25-26), or when we see nation rise against nation, kingdom against kingdom, earthquakes in various places and famines because these are just the beginning signs of the birth pains (13:7)
Be on guard and don’t worry about what to say (13:9, 11)
Do not be blindsided when persecution comes because it is coming. To quote from the book The Insanity of God by Nik Ripken, “you only go into persecution with what you take.” How can we be ready for persecution if we do not have the Word of God written on our hearts? How can the Holy Spirit speak through us, if there is nothing in our heart to speak from? Lord, help us to memorize your Word!!
Do not believe… (13:21)
Again Jesus warns us to not believe the false messiahs and false prophets that will rise up and perform signs and wonders. These false messiahs and prophets will try their best to lead even believers astray. How do bankers train their employees to distinguish a real $100 bill from fake? They study every single part of the REAL $100 bill. How much more should we be studying the REAL Messiah so as to not be led astray?!?
You must watch! (13:23)
Jesus is telling us He has told us everything in advance so that we won’t be caught off guard. If we are caught off guard it is not because He didn’t tell us, but because we did not obey!!
Learn and Know (13:28-29)
Jesus tells us to learn the parable from the fig tree. You know when things are in season and about to bloom. You also know when the Lord is near. You can sense His presence. Even though the things of this world will pass away, God’s Word never will (13:31; John 1:1, 26).
Watch! Be Alert! (13:33)
No one knows when Christ will return except God the Father.
Be Alert! (13:35)
No one knows when the master is returning.
Be Alert! (13:37)
Is said to all of us!!