Jesus thought our belief about the future should inform the way we behave in the present. He explained what events would lead up to the end of the world, but he also emphasized that our beliefs about the future should have practical influence on how we live today. When Jesus predicted the destruction of the temple in Matthew 24, his disciples asked him when the end would take place and what signs to expect to herald His coming and the end of the age. At first, Jesus’ answer seems to be a troubling picture of the future. On further review, what Jesus says is a healthy and helpful reminder for followers of Jesus that we should stay focused on today.
1. In Matthew 24, Jesus talks about the abomination that leads to desolation, which was a prediction from Daniel about what many call the antichrist. Based on your experiences with church and the media, what comes to mind when you think about the antichrist?
2. Jesus’ explanation of the events leading to the end of the world emphasizes the increase of spiritual deception, and we do seem to see an increasing distance from the bible in our culture with each successive generation. With that in mind, what can we do to make sure we raise future generations that don’t fall into spiritual deception?
3. How does keeping our eyes on Jesus and not world events affect how we approach the end of the world? Does the media make it difficult for you to keep your eyes Jesus instead of world events? What are you going to do to help keep proper focus?
4. Do you think that Jesus meant for us to spend so much time trying to determine the details? Why or why not? What was the main point Jesus and the writers of the New Testament were trying to make about the end of the world?
5. Why is it so important to have hope when we are thinking about the return of Jesus?
6. How could you use your knowledge of the similarities between Islam and Christianity when it comes to the end times to start conversations with those of other faiths? How might you use that to build bridges rather than barriers to those who believe differently than you?
7. What struck you most about today’s message?
Find ways to narrow your focus and fix your eyes more on Jesus. Share with a close friend or your group about your plan to better focus on Jesus rather than the circumstances around you.
Hebrews 12:1–3 (NIV) Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.