This chapter and the next are known as “The Olivet Discourse” – which basically means the answer Jesus gave on the Mount of Olives when the disciples asked "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?" This is the longest answer given to any question in the new testament! And we could spend several weeks studying this! Also, because it is future stuff, it can be difficult to understand in the present! But here is my short take on it:
I believe 4-14 describes “birth pains” signs. False christs will deceive (4-5), there will be dissension among nations of the world (6-7), worldwide devastation (7-8), believers being persecuted (9), make-believers defecting (10-13) & the Gospel being declared to the whole world (14). And mark this, the word “will” occurs 17 times in 4-15, 14 times in 26-35 and 13 times in 36-51. So 44 times in the 51 verses of this chapter Jesus uses the word “will.” - Why? Because you can bank on it! It’s a fact! Count it as true! These things will and are already happening!
Verse 15 describes the antichrist who will demand that all people worship Him alone. If you don’t, you’ll be persecuted and killed.
16-28 describe the horrible times to come! Tons of interpretations but they all agree on one thing – it WILL happen! How bad will it be? “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.”
29-31 describes Jesus return. This time, not as an innocent lamb, but as a Warrior King!
32-35 describes the final generation and Jesus states that His words will last – i.e. you can count on it!
36-51 is then a call to be ready! Jesus IS coming back and we need to be faithful to fulfill our calling to Know Jesus and Make Him Known! “It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns.”
*As you read the “birth pains” described in 4-14, what comes to your mind? If you’re like me, I felt like I was reading today’s newspaper headlines! Much of this stuff is going on right now! So what are we to be and do? Well, if you’re not yet a believer, I plead with you to believe and receive the Gospel of Jesus today! If you are a believer, let us “stand firm to the end” by being faithful to Know Jesus and Make Him Known more and more each day! That way when Jesus comes He will find us being faithful and wise!
*Future stuff can bring anxiety, because ultimately it shows who is in control – GOD, not us! Admit it, we’re all control freaks, but God wants us to daily to acknowledge to Him the control He already has of our lives. Lord, please help us!