Jesus’ Most In-depth Teaching on His Second Coming

Two days before His crucifixion, Jesus revealed the most in-depth details regarding His second coming, the judgment and the resurrection.

Therefore, these Scriptures are important for us to accurately understand. In fact, everything we’ve studied so far has been for the purpose of helping us properly interpret what Jesus revealed on this important day.

Unfortunately, there is too much material to squeeze into a single post. Therefore, there’ll be several follow-up posts digging into what transpired here. The purpose of this post is to provide a harmonized account of the day’s events across the Gospels.

Welcome to the 17th post in my series of rethinking Christian eschatology. Because these posts build upon each other, if you’ve not already done so, I invite you to read the previous posts in this series before continuing here.

Ready to dive in?

Let’s do it!


While the cross is the climax of Scripture and of Jesus’ ministry, the tension of the days leading up to the crucifixion forms a powerful crescendo.

Beginning with the triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, Jesus would daily enter Jerusalem where He was confronted by the envious, hard-hearted religious leaders.

And then, having finished His business in the city, Jesus would exit the city on the eastern gate, walk down through the Kidron Valley, up the Mount of Olives and down a few miles to Bethany, where he would spend the night at the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus.

As you may know, the Gospels weren’t all written as chronological accounts of Jesus’ life nor as comprehensive biographies.

But when we study the combined accounts chronologically, it presents a more holistic picture of Jesus’ earthly life and can significantly increase our ability to recall what happened, how and when the events (and the location of the Scriptures that tell them) fit together.

Two days before Jesus’ crucifixion (i.e., Tuesday—I believe Scripture shows Jesus was crucified on Thursday rather than Friday as tradition claims), an epic series of altercations unfolded between Jesus and the religious leaders.

A lot happened on this day.

It was during this day that Jesus revealed some of the most important (and controversial) prophecy.

More lessons, sermons, Bible classes, devotionals and “invitations” have been taken from these events than can be counted.

But, unless you’ve studied the consolidated accounts chronologically end-to-end, you may not have realized that all of these things transpired as a single series of events. In fact, Jesus’ most in-depth prophecy on His second coming, the resurrection and the judgment is actually a single lengthy conversation with four apostles on the Mount of Olives on this day.

A few years before writing this post, while studying these things, I laid Matthew, Mark and Luke’s accounts side-by-side to create a combined, consolidated account of this day’s recorded events. The chronology and most of the subtitles are sourced from The Daily Bible.

I have inserted this combined account below.

I can’t overemphasize the importance of reading this end-to-end. And you’ll benefit greatly if you read this post in a single sitting.

In subsequent posts, we will break down each section and make key observations from them.

(Oh, one final note: For this combined account, I emphasized accuracy and completeness. This occasionally results in repetitive-sounding phrasing. Be aware that this was on purpose.)

Two Days Before Jesus’ Crucifixion

Section #1: Lesson from fig tree

Matt. 21:20-22; Mark 11:20-26

In the morning, as they went along, the disciples saw the fig tree had withered from the roots. They were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked. Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!”

Jesus replied, “Have faith in God. Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.

And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

Section #2: Jesus’ authority questioned

Matt. 21:23-27; Mark 11:27-33; Luke 20:1-8

They arrived again in Jerusalem, and while Jesus was walking and teaching in the temple courts, the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you authority to do this?”

Jesus replied, “I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. John’s baptism—where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or of human origin?”

They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say, ‘Of human origin’—we are afraid the people will stone us, for they are all persuaded that John really was a prophet.”

So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know where it was from.”

Section #3: Parable of two sons

Matt. 21:28-32

“What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’

“‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.

“Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.

“Which of the two did what his father wanted?” “The first,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you.

For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.

Section #4: Parable of murderous tenants

Matt. 21:33-41; Mark 12:1-9; Luke 20:9-16

Jesus then began to speak to them in parables: “Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved away to another place for a long time.

When the harvest time approached, he sent a servant to the tenants so they could give him some of his fruit of the vineyard.

But the tenants seized him, beat him and sent him away empty-handed.

Then he sent another servant to them, but they also struck this man on the head and beat and treated him shamefully. He sent still a third, and they wounded and killed him and threw him out. He sent many others, and the tenants treated them the same way; some of them they beat, others they killed.

Last of all, he had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my son, whom I love; perhaps they will respect my son.’

But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance to be ours.’ So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.

“Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?“

“He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,” they replied, “and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.”

“He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others.”

When the people heard this, they said, “God forbid!”

Section #5: Rejected stone

Matt. 21:42-44; Mark 12:10-11; Luke 20:17-18

Jesus looked directly at them and asked, “Haven’t you read this passage of Scripture—what is the meaning of that which is written:

“’The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
the Lord has done this,
and it is marvelous in our eyes’?

Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. Anyone and everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.”

Section #6: Religious leaders angered

Matt. 21:45-46; Mark 12:12; Luke 20:19

When the teachers of the law, the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them. They looked for a way to arrest him because they knew he had spoken this parable against them, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that he was a prophet, so they left him and went away.

Section #7: Parable of wedding banquet

Matt. 22:1-14

Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.

“Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’

“But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.

“Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.

“But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless.

“Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

“For many are invited, but few are chosen.”

Section #8: Leaders ask about taxes

Matt. 22:15-22; Mark 12:13-17; Luke 20:20-26

Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. Keeping a close watch on him, later they sent some Pharisees and Herodians as spies, who pretended to be sincere. They hoped to catch Jesus in something he said, so that they might hand him over to the power and authority of the governor.

So they sent their disciples, the spies, to him along with the Herodians and questioned him: “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity, that you speak and teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?”

But Jesus, knowing their evil intent and their hypocrisy, saw through their duplicity and said to them, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me a denarius, the coin used for paying the tax, and let me look at it.” They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription is on it?”

“Caesar’s,” they replied.

Then Jesus said to them, “Then give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

When they heard this, they were amazed at him. They were unable to trap him in what he had said there in public. And astonished by his answer, they became silent.

Section #9: Sadducees question Jesus on resurrection

Matt. 22:23-33; Mark 12:18-27; Luke 20:27-39

That same day, some of the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus with a question.

“Teacher,” they said, “Moses told us and wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.

Now there were seven brothers among us. The first one married and died, and since he had no children, he left his wife to his brother. The second one married the widow, but he died also, leaving no child. The same thing happened to the second and the third brother, right on down to the seventh. Last of all, the woman died too. Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?”

Jesus replied, “Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?

The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. But those who are considered worthy of taking part in the age to come and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection. But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to him and you, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? In the account of the burning bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive. You are badly mistaken!”

When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at his teaching. Some of the teachers of the law responded, “Well said, teacher!”

Section #10: Greatest commandment

Matt. 22:34-40; Mark 12:28-34

Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, a teacher and expert in the law came and heard them [Jesus and the Sadducees] debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law? Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

“Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared to ask him any more questions.

Section #11: Jesus asks about ancestry of Messiah

Matt. 22:41-46; Mark 12:35-37; Luke 20:41-44

While Jesus was teaching in the temple courts and the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?“

“The son of David,” they replied.

Then Jesus said to them, “Why is it said that the Messiah is the son of David?”

How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? David himself declares in the Book of Psalms:

“‘The Lord said to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand
until I put your enemies
under your feet [as] a footstool.

If David himself calls him ‘Lord,’ how then can he be his son? No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.

The large crowd listened to him with great delight.”

Section #12: Woes upon religious leaders

Matt. 23:1-38; Mark 12:38-40; Luke 20:45-47

As he taught, while all the people were listening, Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.

Beware, watch out for the teachers of the law. Everything they do is done for people to see: They like to walk around in flowing robes. They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long. They love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely. They love to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.

But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.

“Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gold of the temple is bound by that oath.’ You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred? You also say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gift on the altar is bound by that oath.’ You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? Therefore, anyone who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. And anyone who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it. And anyone who swears by heaven swears by God’s throne and by the one who sits on it.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. Go ahead, then, and complete what your ancestors started!

“You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? Therefore I am sending you prophets and sages and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Truly I tell you, all this will come on this generation.

Section #13: Lament Over Jerusalem

Matt. 23:37-39

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”

Section #14: Widow an Example

Mark 12:41-44; Luke 21:1-4

Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and, as he looked up, he watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. He saw many rich people putting their gifts of large amounts into the temple treasury.

He also saw a poor widow come and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.

Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. All these people gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything she had—all she had to live on.

Section #15: Temple to be Destroyed

Matt. 24:1-2; Mark 13:1-2; Luke 21:5-6

Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. As Jesus was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!”

But Jesus said, “Do you see all these great buildings? As for what you see here, truly I tell you, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.”

Section #16: Disciples Ask Questions

Matt. 24:3; Mark 13:3-4; Luke 21:7

As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, the disciples—Peter, James, John and Andrew—came and asked him privately, “Tell us, when will this happen? When will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place, the sign of your coming and of the end of the age, the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?”

Section #17: Jesus Tells of Signs

Matt. 24:4-35; Mark 13:5-31; Luke 21:8-33

Jesus answered them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah; I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ [They] will deceive many. Do not follow them.

You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed or frightened. Such things must happen and these things must happen first, but the end is still to come—[it] will not come right away.”

Then he said to them: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven. These are the beginning of birth pains.

“But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. On account of me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them. And so you will bear testimony to me. And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand what to say. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.

You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. Everyone will hate you because of me. You will be hated by all nations because of me. But not a hair of your head will perish. Stand firm, and you will win life. The one who stands firm to the end will be saved.”

At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.

“When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Let no one on the housetop go down or enter the house to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. Pray that this will not take place in winter, because those will be days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now—and never to be equaled again. There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

“If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect, whom he has chosen, those days will be shortened. At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. So be on your guard; see, I have told you everything ahead of time.

“So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.

“But in those days, immediately after the distress of those days,
‘”the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’

There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then, at that time, all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with great power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

He told them this parable: “Look at the fig trees and all the trees. Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things happening, you know that it is near—the kingdom of God is near, right at the door.

“Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”

Section #18: Exact Times Unknown

Matt. 24:36-44; Mark 13:32-33

“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.

“Therefore keep watch. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know on what day your Lord will come, when that time will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

Section #19: Jesus Urges Watchfulness

Matt. 24:45-51; Mark 13:34-37; Luke 21:34-36

“It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. Who then is the faithful servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions.

“But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

“Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth [i.e., land].

“Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’”

Section #20: Wise and Foolish Virgins

Matt. 25:1-13

“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’

“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’

“’No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’

“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.

“Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’

“But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’”

Section #21: Parable of Talents

Matt. 25:14-30

“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

“After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!

“The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

“Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

“’So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”

Section #22: Concerning Last Judgment

Matt. 25:31-46

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people from one another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“Then the King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

“Then they will go away to eternal punishment but the righteous to eternal life.”

Section #23: Jesus Foresees Crucifixion

Matt. 26:1-2

When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, “As you know, the Passover is two days away—and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.”

Section #24: Priests and Elders Conspire

Matt. 26:3-5; Mark 14:1-2; Luke 22:1-2

Now the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread was approaching—only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and they schemed to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. They were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people.

Section #25: Judas Agrees to Betray

Matt. 26:14-16; Mark 14:10-11; Luke 22:3-6

Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. He asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. He consented, and from then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present.

Continue to the next post, where we begin studying and drawing key observations from this great text.

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