Matthew 24 Return of Jesus

Earthquakes and the end times

Jesus’ words in Matthew 24 have been badly misunderstood over the years!  Jesus said in Matthew 24: 4-6, “You will hear of wars and rumours of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.  Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.  All these are the beginning of birth-pains.”
The disciples had asked Jesus when the temple in Jerusalem would be destroyed and when the end of the world as-they-knew-it would be.  In Jewish thinking the destruction of the temple would me the end of the present age. 
Jesus replies that life will go on as normal.  In the Middle East, then as now, there are always wars and rumours of wars.  There always have been famines and earthquakes.  We simply know about them because of CNN and Sky News.  Since the fall of man in Genesis 3 the earth has been experiencing the groans of birth pains (Romans 8).  Jesus whole point is that we don’t know when the end of the present age will be! Life will carry on as normal and then the end (or really the beginning) will come.  That’s the whole point of verses 37-39: “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.  For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.”
The sudden destruction of the temple by the Romans in 70 AD (v4-35) will be a small picture of the sudden, unexpected return of Jesus (v36-44).   
Glory Irony Isaiah 42:1 Psalm 2:7 Suffering

The irony of Jesus

At Jesus baptism, a voice speaks from heaven and says, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:8)  The voice (aka God the Father) echoes Psalm 2:7 and Isaiah 42:1.  What makes this astounding is the two radically different people these two passages refer to. 

Psalm 2 refers to God’s great anointed King who will rule forever over God’s people and shatter all God’s enemies.  It is a psalm about the enthronement of the godly king and the futility of rebelling against him.

 Isaiah 42 is quite different.  Isaiah 42 introduces us to the suffering servant of God who is crushed and bruised and beaten.  He dies for the sins of others and wounded for others’ transgressions. He is smitten, afflicted and led to the slaughter (see Isaiah 53).

 At Jesus’ baptism, God the Father makes it clear that both the king and the servant are combined in Jesus.  Jesus is God’s king who will rule forever and who will smash his enemies.  Jesus is also the servant who establishes his rule by dying and rising again.  Jesus dies for the sins of others so that others may join him in his kingdom. 

 Many first century people failed to see the irony of Jesus. They failed to see that glory and suffering must go together. Have you understood the irony?

Is the gospel good news?

The word “gospel” was not a particularly Christian word at the time of the writing of the New Testament in the first Century Roman Empire.

Gospel was simply the word used for momentous news of a historic event that would no doubt bring a new situation or circumstances. For example, the news of a new Emperor being crowned was called gospel, as was the news of victory in battle by the Roman legions, ushering in a era of relative peace.