It is very evident that when the disciples of Christ tried to draw His attention to the beauty of the Temple, they expected Him to join with them in their feelings of admiration (verses 1-2). But we may know that nothing can be truly beautiful in the eyes of God if it is connected with sin; and this Temple, which had originally been built as a house of prayer, had been turned into a den of thieves. Therefore, there could be no beauty in it that would be admired by One Who is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity. In fact, so far from joining in their admiration of the architectural workmanship of the Temple, He actually told His disciples of its approaching demise. What a lesson to impress upon their minds! It ought to have put them in mind of the vanity and littleness of all earthly things! But it does not appear that they were struck with this thought. It seems that their only concern was to find out the precise time when this predicted event would transpire (verses 3-4). And thus it happens that people generally put away from them any serious lesson which might be learned from what they hear or see, by occupying their minds merely with questions of curiosity; and then the practical benefit of the Lord’s instruction to them is lost.
Jesus, in His reply, did not answer His disciples’ inquiry. He only pointed out to them their need of watchfulness, because of the dangers to which they themselves would be personally exposed at the time of the Temple’s destruction. This chapter is one which contains much that is deeply important to us all; but it is to be feared that for many, it is only interesting as far as it touches upon matters of history and prophecy – the fall of Jerusalem and the end of the world. But if we desire to profit by what we read here, we must apply to ourselves the lessons which it contains. By contemplating Jerusalem’s fate at the hands of the Romans in 70 AD, let us endeavor to impress upon our minds the evil of sin; for it brings destruction upon even the grandest and mightiest works of men.
Furthermore, we should observe that although the trials of Christians in those early days were such as we may hope that we shall never be exposed to; yet the solemn words, “Take heed to yourselves,” are still as needful for us as they were for the disciples to whom Jesus originally spoke. “Take heed lest any man deceive you,” He said. Yes, we must indeed be on our guard; for there are many who come to us in Christ’s name, who are only the instruments of Satan. Their desire is to draw us away from humble faith in Him, and – alas! – they are very successful in deceiving many. However, the only ones who will fall into the snare are those who are either too careless or too self-sufficient to watch out for danger. Strength of mind and wisdom will be given us from the Lord, if we only seek it prayerfully – in humility and faith. His grace is sufficient to enable us to resist all the temptations, difficulties, and distractions which Satan places in our way. Difficulties of some kind or another, we must expect. We may even be hated by all people for Christ’s sake; but let us only consider the end, and then we may surely be patient under our trials – for the end cannot be very far off! In just a little while – a few years, or it may even be a few months or days – Christ will come to us; or, by death, we shall go to Him. And then we shall be delivered out of all our sorrows, if we are found among the number of His true and faithful followers! Yes, let us think of this – and surely we shall not faint under our trials, however heavy they may be. But on the other hand, we must watch against spiritual pride. If we think that our faith is so firmly rooted that we do not need to apply to ourselves the solemn words, “Take heed to yourselves” – this feeling of false security will be the sure road to ruin. Only those who endure unto the end, in humble faith and patience, shall be saved!
In verses 24-37, our Savior is referring to that awful time when He shall come in the clouds, with power and great glory, to take vengeance on the world at large – where His Gospel-message of infinite mercy has not been received as it ought to have been. Fearful, indeed, to the unawakened sinner shall those days be! What can each person who rejects Christ expect to suffer when the Great Last Day of reckoning comes? And no one knows when this Day will be; it will arrive before we even realize it. And if this Day does not come before our life on earth is over, our death will be to us the same thing as the coming of Christ; for it shall bring our experience of earthly trials to a close, and it shall usher us immediately into the presence of our heavenly King. How important, therefore, that we should take heed, and constantly watch and pray – for we “know not when the time is!” Let each one of us put to ourselves this question: “Am I living under the constant impression of life’s uncertainty? And am I so anxious, at all times, to be found doing my duty, so that I might be well compared to a servant who is waiting and watching for his Master’s return – ready to welcome him home?” Alas! It is to be feared that many are busy enough about their worldly concerns; but sadly, they are dull and careless as to the state of their souls. My dear brother or sister! I beg you to beware of this state of indifference and thoughtlessness! It is an awful thing to trifle with the soul, and to make light of sin, and to put off repentance and change of life until life itself has come to an end. Hear me as I earnestly beseech you to not lose one hour in seeking help from God to become a new creature – for when He comes suddenly, you do not want to be found sleeping; but rather, you shall want to be active and awake, so that you may cordially welcome your returning Redeemer!
Lord, we beseech You to pour out Your amazing grace upon us so that we may be found watching and waiting when our King Jesus shall return in glory! Amen.
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