Jesus has announced that one day judgment will come upon Jerusalem, destroying their exquisite Temple buildings. The disciples are anxious to know when this will happen and just what signs will precede such a cataclysmic event. Yet Jesus’ intention is not to feed their curiosity but to warn them and call them to diligent readiness.
Jesus used a well-known Jewish device when He spoke first of a “near event” in order to more fully describe the power and stature of a “far event.” The near event would be the destruction of Jerusalem along with the Temple at the hands of the Romans in 70 AD.
In our text today, Jesus moves on to the “far event”: the coming of the Son of Man in power and glory. Unlike the destruction of 70 AD, this “coming” would be sudden, unpredictable, and most of all inescapable. The only smart option was to live each day – each moment – so as to be found ready when the Lord returned. This call to readiness permeates the whole sermon, but it is found most firmly in Jes