"And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and the end of the world? (Matthew 24:3)
Jesus' earthly ministry is only days away from coming to an end. He is going to that old rugged cross, and will become the sacrifice that will make an atonement for the sin of all the world. "Amazing Grace."
His disciples are completely unaware of this! They are on a sight-seeing tour of the temple.
He and His disciples have just left the temple complex. They disciples are in awe of the beautiful temple, and its lavish furnishings. They ask Jesus if He had noticed how beautiful the temple was? Certainly He had! But was not as impressed as they were.
Jesus told them that the temple was going to be completely destroyed. That not one stone would be left on top of the other. (v. 2) They were horrified by the thought.
They left Jerusalem, and crossed the Kidron Valley. They ascended the Mt. of Olives, where Jesus sat down, and looked back at Jerusalem.
His disciples approached Him, and asked, "When will this happen? When will you return? And when will the world end? (v. 3)
Three different events.
1) The beautiful temple was completely destroyed in A. D. 70. All that was left of it is what is known as the "Wailing Wall". The only reason that part of the temple remained was because it was buried by the rubble that fell from the wall above.
2) Jesus has not yet returned.
3) The world has yet to be destroyed.
The disciples, like everyone else, wanted to know, "When?"
You won't know the 'when', until it happens! Look at v. 36. "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
1) No man knows the 'when'!
2) Nor do the angels know the 'when'!
3) Only the Father knows the 'when'!
Millions of dollars have been made by people who have said, "I know 'when'!" STOP BUYING THEIR BOOKS! THEY DO-NOT-KNOW-WHEN! YOU ARE ONLY MAKING THEM RICH!
This is what Jesus said:
1) It will be as the days of Noah! (v. 37-39)
2) It will be sudden! (v. 27, 40-41)
3) We need to watch, because we will not know the 'when'! (v.42)
4) We need to be ready! (v. 44)
5) It will be totally unexpected. (v. 44)
So, what's a body to do? "Watch, therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh." (Matthew 25:13)
We are to 'Watch'. To 'watch' is to be 'faithful'. Each day, we are to be faithful to the Lord. To live as if 'today' is the 'when'!
From my heart to your heart.