TODAY’S READING: Matthew 24
Herod the Great’s great building projects were crowned by the Temple Mount reconstruction, which likely refurbished the temple according to the plan of the second temple but much more extravagantly. The temple by the time Jesus was ministering was certainly impressive—at least to others, not to Christ. The disciples called Jesus’ attention to the temple, and He called their attention to eschatology, using the looming fall of Herod’s temple as a reference point for the fall of all nations and the end of this present evil age. The crux of it all is the missionary mandate presented in Matthew 24:14.
And this gospel: “Gospel” means good news, and there must be bad news if the good news is to make sense. God is only good if He sends bad people to hell. The bad news is that all people are bad, thus the whole world is under the wrath of a holy God. The good news is that in Jesus God saves us from sin by saving us from His own wrath. The love of God saves us from the wrath of God for the joys of God.
Of the kingdom: Jesus did not view His Kingdom as of this world. He does not view our role as clean-up crew so this present world is fit for His rule. He is clear that He will return and burn up everything with fire and the elements themselves will dissolve in the fervent heat. The King will start over, ruling and reigning over a restored (new) heavens and earth. The Kingdom will not be established until the King is in residence physically.
Will be preached: Our biblical role is crystal clear, and the Spirit has found numerous ways to describe our primary assignment: town criers, prophets, ambassadors, announcers, watchmen on the wall, apostles, teachers, preachers, proclaimers, disciplers, and witnesses—all titles with the understanding that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the spoken Word of God. From stables to stadiums, from ragged to rich, from illiterate to illuminati, our primary role is to open our mouths and herald the Messiah. Everything else we do must empower this primary assignment.
In all the world…to all the nations: The scope is universal. The clear intent is every ethnic group. The indubitable obedience is to send missionaries to every one of the 7,000 unreached people groups that as of yet do not have an indigenous church able to reach their own and beyond.
As a witness: The Greek word implies being a martyr, paying the price, embracing suffering, living the crucified life, being a faithful witness whether by shutting the mouth of lions or filling them. The gospel has ever gone forth under pressure, and in this last hour that will not diminish, it will increase. More bloody Christian seed must be sown before the final harvest.
And then the end will come: We are missionary because we want to go home, because we long for Jesus to come back and restore all things, because we agree with Paul that to die is gain and that to be with Christ is far, far better. This end is beautiful because it is but the end of the beginning. Next up? The presence of Jesus forever. No death, sin, curse, pain, tears, night, strife, sickness, or evil. I can’t wait! I want to go home.