4. The Olivet Discourse
The Olivet Discourse on Jesus return. This is a discussion that Jesus had with his disciples about the near and distant future. It touches on Jesus return and the signs to look for. Jesus speaks of his return and reminds his disciples that they should always be prepared for this event, which is certain inspite of its timing remaining a mystery. Jesus message is that we are simply passing through this world as pilgrims or sojourners. He teaches us to have disdain for what is earthly and focus on what is heavenly.
Jesus commands in the Olivet discussion on Jesus return
We should not be deceived by false teachers or false messiahs. How do we test whether one is a false teacher? First read the gospels, and let Jesus’ teachings be at your fingertips. Our standard is Jesus himself. He lived minimally and among the poor. He never took anything for all the miracles he performed. He was a suffering servant to the very end.His concern at all times was for eternity and the place of men in it.
In the gospels, Jesus tells the masses to listen to the pharisees but not to act as they do, being hypocrites.How different is it today? Jet set preachers driving Ferrari’s, living in million dollar mansions and wearing the best that money can buy. There is nothing wrong with being rich, but you certainly don’t do so on the basis of offerings that are meant to help the poor. If preachers are going to be commercial about their craft, then its more likely that mammon is what will drive their agenda rather than the command of the great commission. Let us do as they say and not as they do.
We should stay anchored to Jesus and His teachings. We need to keep reflecting on this at all times. Read the gospels, over and over again. There will always be something new to learn. On reading, keep practicing ; ours is an experiential religion. If you do not practice, it will not matter how much you know. I believe the Kingdom of God is made manifest within us, through the practice of Jesus teachings. The fullness of the Kingdom however, will arrive upon Jesus return.
We should not be alarmed by chaotic world events before Jesus return. The world appears mad, and at times I feel that we have gone much beyond the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah. Human dignity and life is only esteemed for the haves’; the have not’s are not considered worthy. Weather seems to be turning against us, with thousands killed by drought, floods, tornadoes, tsunamis and so on. There are never ending wars being waged. I don’t know what to make of it, but our Lord tells us not to worry; so we will not and await Jesus return
We should be willing to suffer for the cause of Christ and His kingdom. Jesus will return, but his returning will be like a thief in the night and we will all be aware of (His) Jesus return. At all times, we must stand up for what we believe to be right, in line with his teachings on righteousness; justice; human dignity; love of our neighbors; standing up for the poor; choosing righteousness over mammon; and so on. Let us be salt, in a world that would prefer us to be lukewarm. Stand for something, anything that Christ would want us to stand up for. You don’t want to be a hero, that’s fine. Use your money and other talents to support other disciples. It all matters and everything you do matters, no matter how insignificant you imagine it to be. We are all one body under Christ until Jesus return.
We should remain vigilant for Jesus return, always living by the principles espoused in His teachings. You need not do much, other than practicing what he taught us. You will naturally be doing what He expects us to do. Practice is the key to living a Christian life, not reading about it but practicing. We are to be like the faithful servant, earnestly seeing to our duties and waiting for Jesus return, at which point we will take our place in His kingdom.
Jesus predicts the temples destruction (Matt 24: 1-3). Jesus speaks of two events, the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 and his second coming at the end of the age. Jesus alerts the disciples to birth pains that will mark every age: deception, false messiahs, false prophets, wars and rumors of wars, famines, earthquakes, persecution of Gods people, apostasy, betrayals, an increase in wickedness, a lessening of love and the world wide preaching of the gospel.
These things are happening today! The world is full of false prophets that pander to the needs of the people rather than Gods truth. Preachers focus on how to make money; how to be successful; how to be the best; living for the self; living ones passion (whatever that is); encouraging blatant ambition; emphasizing selfishness and vain glory. Gone are the truths of self sacrifice; patience; meekness; love of God over love of mammon; profit with humanity and so on. Just read the sermon on the mount and you will realize how much nonsense is out there today.
The sheep and the goats (Matthew 25: 31-46). When Jesus return he will separate the righteous (Sheep) from the wicked (Goats). A person’s destiny is directly connected to whether they did or did not do for one of the “least brothers of mine”. In our context, brother relates to our spiritual brother, other Christians.We are to do for others as we would like done for us, more so for our fellow Christian brothers. We need to reflect constantly on this. In the course of your days on this earth, try to be useful to all. A smile here, a word there, alms here, prayer there, gentleness and so on. Doing for one of the least of these need not involve great acts, but rather small daily ones that add up in the end.