A mentor of mine used to say that Jesus often answered the questions the disciples should have asked. I think Matthew 24-25 is one of those examples. After Jesus tells the disciples that the temple will be destroyed they respond with more questions.
Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?
It seems they understood Jesus’ prediction about the destruction of the temple to be his restoration of the kingdom of Israel with Him enthroned as Messiah. They wanted to know when it was happening and what to look for.
Jesus immediately begins to answer the question they should have asked. It would have been something like, “How shall we live in anticipation of your coming?” He answers:
Jesus makes it clear that hard times are coming and that eventually He would come and rescue them. But the overwhelming thrust of what He says is “be prepared.” This emphasis becomes heightened at the end of chapter 24 and throughout chapter 25 as Jesus goes into parables about being prepared. We are to:
He tells them to do the same things He has already been telling them to do His entire ministry. There is nothing new here except urgency. In fact, these are the very things the humans were created to do in the garden (Gen 1:26-28). It is what Abraham was called to do (Gen 12:2). It is what the Hebrews were supposed to do (Ex 19:5-6, Deut 4:5-8).
Mankind has always struggled to live out this ideal. Matthew 23 features Jesus' harsh words to the Pharisees who tried to bring about this way of life through legalism. But Jesus has a better way. The solution is the cross, resurrection, ascension and Pentecost. It took Jesus’ sacrifice for our forgiveness, resurrection to give us life, ascension to unveil His authority, and the pouring out of the Spirit to give us the new heart that we so desperately needed. We must receive Jesus and learn to walk with him intimately. We must allow His Spirit to work in our hearts... overflowing from us... to the world around us. We love because He first loved us. Go and live it out until He returns!