Matthew 24: Is Jesus Coming Back in 2011? Maybe

“…the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him” (Mt. 24:44).

It’s interesting I would be working on this chapter around the same time I found out about a new religious leader who is claiming the end of the world will be May 21, 2011. You can Google it for yourself, but the math is quite creative in how at a certain day from the starting point of the second Jubilee following the modern re-establishment of Israel equals May 21, 2011. Not kidding. This guy believes it, is promoting it on billboards and websites, and is causing quite a stir among those into that sort of thing.

But Jesus made clear in Matthew 24 that date setting is not to be figured out from reading the Bible and tapping out a creative equation on a calculator. Jesus claimed only the Father knew the hour. The implication is that Jesus could come back any moment, meaning we can’t procrastinate until the night before like a term paper in college.

There’s a reason for this. We all hate teachers who give pop quzzes, but this method forces us to study for each day of class. Likewise, we may not like the idea of not knowing when Jesus will return, but the goal is to keep us alert until he does return.

I know a lot of people don’t believe Jesus is coming back at all, but from the perspective of the Bible, it’s as foundational as the virgin birth of Jesus and his  resurrection. The story isn’t complete until he returns.

The application I took from this section was that being able to figure the date of Christ’s return would be much easier than living for Christ every moment of every day. In my car, at the job, with my family, on the phone–I have to live like Jesus is just about to show up. I don’t want to be yelling at someone who cut me off on the interstate when Jesus returns. I want to be living one hundred percent for Jesus. When he comes, all that will matter is to hear him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

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Dillon Burroughs has written, co-written, or edited over 60 books, including the upcoming devotional work Thirst No More (October 2011). He served as an associate editor for The Apologetics Study Bible for Students and is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary. Find out more at DillonBurroughs.org.

Matthew 23: How to Be (Truly) Great

“The greatest among you will be your servant.” -Matthew 23:11

Jesus turns his attention toward one major problem and its solution in Matthew 23. The problem is hypocrisy. The religious leaders of his time taught purity, yet lived in luxury. They communicated Scripture, yet sought to kill Jesus and in doing so break Scripture.

We would expect the solution to be sincerity or authenticity, but it’s not. The solution Jesus gave to hypocrisy was humility: “The greatest among you will be your servant.”

But how do we become more humble? To even draw attention to the desire for humility seems boastful in the first place. We can’t be proud of our humility (Or shouldn’t be!).

Simply put, the solution is serving others. Jesus declared seven “woes” or condemnations to the Pharisees in chapter 23 because their focus was on self, not service. If a religious leader (or anyone who claims to follow Jesus) cannot occasionally take out the trash, wash dishes, help the poor, sweep the floor, fold laundry, change a diaper, or perform laboring tasks on behalf of others, they are not truly leaders, but rather modern-day Pharisees who have become the hypocrites of our time.

May we seek to serve today, reflecting the love of our Lord, who came to serve and to offer his life as a ransom for many.

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Dillon Burroughs has written, co-written, or edited over 60 books, including the upcoming devotional work Thirst No More (October 2011). He served as an associate editor for The Apologetics Study Bible for Students and is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary. Find out more at DillonBurroughs.org.

Matthew 22: Jesus on Taxes

The religious leaders of Jesus’ time sought a way to trick him. What better way than to involve taxes, right? If Jesus taught taxes should not be paid to Caesar, they had an opportunity to have him arrested.

But what did Jesus say? “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” Amazing! Jesus stumped his opponents by both honoring God and the ruling leader.

What does this say to us today? First, we need to pay our taxes (No cheating, either!). This is especially relevant to Americans at this time of year, but an area often compromised in the pursuit of personal gain.

Second, however, is the concept of honoring God and honoring our governing leaders. Would Jesus really bash Obama in Glen Beck-like fashion? I doubt it. But he would probably be part of the Presidential Prayer Team (as am I). He would likely not be on Townhall.com and instead be promoting Habitat for Humanity (He was a carpenter after all.). He would be more about World Vision than the State of the Union address and more concerned about showing Compassion than being a so-called “Compassionate Conservative.”

So love God, love your neighbor, pay your taxes, respect your governing authorities. Sounds like a plan.

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Dillon Burroughs has written, co-written, or edited over 60 books, including the upcoming devotional work Thirst No More (October 2011). He served as an associate editor for The Apologetics Study Bible for Students and is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary. Find out more at DillonBurroughs.org.


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