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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Easter Week: Tuesday, The Olivet Discourse

On this, the third day of Easter week, the time of Jesus is spent primarily teaching in the temple and later on the Mount of Olives with His disciples nearby. Mark's accounts of this day include the lessons of the fig tree, but it is believed that he does this more for the impact of the lesson than the actual timing of the event.
When Jesus arrives in the temple this day, the Jewish leaders are again waiting to trap Jesus in His words and teachings. The Pharisees, Herodians and the Sadducees are prepared for confrontation.
The questions posed to Jesus are about the tributes paid to Ceasar, the first commandment and the widows mite.
Upon leaving the temple, Jesus issues a prophecy about the destruction of the temple. Considering the temple and grounds are still under construction at the time, I wonder if the disciples could grasp on to what He was saying in it's entirety.
Jesus and His followers head to the Mount of Olives where more prophesies and parables are given. These prophesies are about the Second Coming of the Lord. Because they focus so much on the destruction that will come to the Earth prior to His coming, this time on Mount Olives, known as the Olivet Discourse, is often referred to as "the little apocalypse".  Among the parables at this time are those of the Ten Virgin and the parable of the servants and their given talents.  It left me reflecting on what types of actions in my day I place most value on and are they the same things that will prepare me to meet my Savior. Read in Matthew 25:35-45, for a wonderful example of exactly what type of behaviors are expected to serve the Lord.
Another lesson that I found interesting is found in all three gospels.  It is present in the stories of Noah and Lot, but applied to the knowledge of the Second Coming.  The principle taught is that nobody can predict the Second Coming.  It will come without any knowledge of man, angel, or Spirit.  In both Noah and Lot's time, life was normal up until the day of destruction.  There will not be obvious signs or warnings.  He teaches that the best thing to do is to be prepared at all times, since there is no way to tell when the Second Coming will arrive.  It is our best option to be in good standings with the Lord, and to be prepared for His Coming regardless of anything else.

Hymn: For today, I chose "On a Golden Springtime" from the Primary Children's Songbook. I did this because as I pictured the Savior with His disciples, sitting at the Mount of Olives. From their vantage point, they would have had a full view of Jerusalem and the temple. This song seemed fitting for how my mind imagines this moment. Click on image to begin the song.

Scripture Experience:
     * Lesson from the withered fig tree (Mark 11:20-26)
     * Teachings in the temple (Mark 11:27-12:44; Matthew 22:15-23:36; Luke 20:20-21:4)
     * Jesus' lament over Jerusalem according to Matthew (Matthew 23:37-39)
     * The Olivet Discourse; Jesus' prophecies regarding the last days before His second coming
             (Mark 13:1-37; Matthew 24:1-25; Luke 21:5-36)
     * Summary of Jesus' teaching (Luke 21:37-38; John 12:37-50)

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