Philippe R. Sterling
XI. End Times Discourse: The King pronounces judgment on the nation, reveals future events preceding His return
to establish the kingdom, and exhorts His disciples to watchfulness and readiness ‘til He comes (23–25).
A. National Judgment: The King pronounces judgment on the nation (23).
1. Jesus admonishes the multitudes and disciples (1-12). The example of the scribes and Pharisees
teaches disciples the hypocrisy pitfalls to avoid.
2. Jesus issues eight indictments of the scribes and Pharisees (13-36). The eight woes are a contrast to
the eight beatitudes (5:1-12). Here is the ugly reverse of the traits disciples should express.
3. Jesus laments over Jerusalem and the terrible judgment that will follow their rejection of
Him (37-39). When Jesus comes again, the Jewish people will welcome Him as the Messiah.
B. The End Times: The King answers questions concerning the events preceding His return and exhorts
disciples to watch and be ready (24–25).
1. Questions: Jesus’ prediction of the destruction of the temple brings up the questions of when will
these things be and what will be the sign of His coming and the end of the age (24:1-3).
2. Answers: Jesus speaks concerning the signs and the times (24:4-44).
a. The Signs (24:4-35)
1) Summary of Day of the Lord and Preliminary Events (4-14)
Jesus describes world conditions at the beginning of the Tribulation period that precedes His Second Coming (4-8). Jesus describes what His disciples living during the Tribulation period must expect before the end will come (9-14).
2) Focus on the Great Tribulation – Final 3½ years of the Day of the Lord (15-35)
Jesus tells of the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel (15). Jesus warns what should be done when the abomination of desolation appears: flee immediately (16-20). Coming on the heels of the abomination of desolation will be the Great Tribulation (21-28). Jesus returns at the close of the Great Tribulation (29-31). Jesus speaks more regarding the timing of these events with the parable of the fig tree (32-35).
b. The Times (24:36-44)
Nobody knows when the Day of the Lord begins (36-39). Therefore, be ready (40-44).
3. Applications: Jesus tells four parables to drive home the point of watchfulness and readiness
a. The Faithful or Wicked Servant: Church age disciples living prior to the Day of the Lord need
to act faithfully and not wickedly so as to be rewarded in the Kingdom (24:45-51).
b. The Ten Virgins: Disciples living through the Day of the Lord – those who come to believe
after the rapture – need to be prepared for the Second Coming of the Lord (25:1-13).
c. Parable of the Talents: Both disciples of the Church age and the Tribulation period need to seize
the opportunities to serve the Lord so as to be rewarded by Him at His coming (25:14-30).
d. The Judgment of Sheep and Goats: The Lord will judge the nations prior to setting up the
Kingdom (25:31-46). All believing Gentiles have eternal life, faithful believing Gentiles inherit
the Kingdom, and unbelieving Gentiles here indicated by how they responded to the Lord’s
brethren go away into eternal punishment.
XII. The Passion and Resurrection Narrative: Jesus, the crucified and risen Messiah-King, commissions His
disciples to continue His disciple-making ministry in His authority in all nations to the end of the age (26–28).
A. Jesus’ Betrayal, Arrest, and Trial – The Messiah, our Sovereign Savior, remains loyal to the end, while
others fall away (26).
1. Prediction of Crucifixion: Jesus continued in the face of death, letting nothing hinder His obedience
to the Father (1-5).
2. Anointing by Mary: Loyalty to the Messiah leads to extravagant worship (6-13).
3. Judas’ Deal: Disloyalty comes cheaply (14-16).
4. Last Supper: Jesus wants us to remember continually His loyal and sacrificial love (17-30).
5. Prediction of Disciples’ Desertion: We must not underestimate our own ability to be disloyal to
6. Gethsemane Prayer: The only way we can remain loyal in spite of our weakness is to stay alert to
danger and depend continually on God through prayer (36-56).
7. Trial before Sanhedrin: Loyal obedience stands on truth (57-68).
8. Denials of Peter: We can be disloyal when we are unprepared. Stay alert and pray. (69-75).
B. Jesus’ Trial, Death, and Burial – Jesus the Messiah gave His life for our sins (27).
1. Death of Judas: Recognition of one’s disloyalty may result in realization of wrong but not necessarily
in faith in Jesus (1-10).
2. Trial before Pilate: Jesus the Messiah submitted to unjust conviction because of His love for us (11-25).
3. Crucifixion and Death: Jesus the Messiah took on the shame and guilt of our sin (26-56).
4. Burial: Jesus the Messiah died and was buried showing that His resurrection was a miracle (57-66).
C. The Commission of our Risen King: The risen Messiah has commissioned us to continue His
disciple-making ministry in His authority throughout the world to the end of the age (28).
1. The Risen Jesus: We serve a risen Messiah (1-10).
2. The Cover-Up: As we conduct the Messiah’s ministry, we will have to deal with the enemy’s lies about
the Messiah (11-15).
3. The Great Commission: The presence and authority of the Messiah will accompany us as we carry out
His disciple-making ministry to all the nations to the end of the age (16-20).
Theological Reflection and Application
Matthew’s gospel focuses on the theme of discipleship. The Twelve are prototypes for disciples who are to learn to observe all that Jesus taught. Disciples are linked to the fellowship of disciples, the ekklesia. Matthew is the only gospel that mentions the Church (16:18; 18:17). The mission of the Church is to make disciples, followers of Jesus who will do the Father’s will, from every nation. Discipleship is self-reproducing. Disciples will make disciples, who will in turn do the same, into every nation on earth.
Matthew is the most Jewish of the gospels, full of direct Old Testament quotations and allusions. On two occasions, Jesus restricts His work and that of His disciples to Israel (10:5-6; 15:24). But this is temporary. Matthew concludes the gospel with one of his most famous passages, the Great Commission, which sends the disciples to make more disciples from all the nations (28:18-20).
The “nations” (Gentiles, ethne) are in fact never far from sight throughout Matthew’s gospel. They are included in Jesus’ genealogy (1:5); they are the first to worship the new-born Christ (magi 2:1-11); Jesus lived in Galilee “of the Gentiles” (4:15); news of His activities ‘spread all over Syria’ (4:24); the “plentiful harvest” of 9:37 alludes to a wider perspective; the quotation of Isaiah 42:1-4 in 12:18-21 mentions “the nations” twice; in the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares, the field is “the world” (13:38); Jesus was willing to enter non-Jewish homes (8:7); Jesus commends the faith of Gentiles, including the Canaanite woman whose request He initially refuses (8:10; 15:28); He explicitly promises that many from “the nations” will participate in the messianic feast (8:11), and that the gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to “all nations” (24:14).
The “Great Commission” is Matthew’s summary of what disciple-making entails. When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and makes disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the names of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt 28:17-29).
These words are not an afterthought, but rather the climax, a culmination of everything said up to this point, a summary of Matthew’s entire gospel, written so that we might “make disciples of all nations”. For Matthew, discipleship is the mission of the Church, with all the nations in view. As we go to the nations we make disciples by baptizing and teaching them to observe all that Jesus commanded. Teaching is not merely an intellectual enterprise. It is training to obey God’s will as revealed in the works and words of Jesus. Believers from every nation are to learn to obey Jesus.
Jesus promises to be with the disciples always, to the end of the age (Matt 28:20). This is rooted in the first title given to Him, Immanuel, God with us (1:23). This presence and empowering is not simply for our own comfort, but connects with mission. Disciples follow the model of Jesus (see 10:24-25).
Disciples are not perfect. They may be “of little faith”, “afraid”, or “full of doubt”. Even in Matt 28:17, all worship, but some doubt. This suggests that mission takes place in the knowledge of our own weakness.
1. Jesus is the rightful heir to the Davidic throne. We can be fellow heirs and reign with Him by becoming
disciples and making disciples.
2. Respond to the call of discipleship and make disciples.
3. Be an influence for Christ by your character and conduct wherever you are.
4. God will take care of you. Seek your reward from God, not from people. Seek to serve God, not money.
Trust God’s provision, not your own.
5. Recognize the authority of Jesus in your life. Follow Jesus’ compassionate example in your attitude and
actions toward others. Be a willing worker in God’s harvest. Pray for laborers for the harvest.
6. We have been given authority from the Messiah-King in this world. We represent Him, and we have
been commissioned to carry out His ministry. His authority and provision will give us all we need for
success. We must trust Him.
7. Avoid a legalistic approach to the life of faith. Rather, actively exercise compassion and mercy toward others.
8. The Messiah-King has come. If we want to enter His Kingdom, then we must believe in Him for eternal life. If
we want a share in His Kingdom, then we must follow Him as a disciple.
9. Disciples give Jesus the rightful place in their lives. Loving God and loving people is the disciple’s
central purpose in life. Jesus will reward those who believe in Him and bear fruit.
10. If we are faithful, we will be prepared for the future. Whatever happens, whether we live until Jesus
returns or not, watchfulness and readiness are always in style!
11. Be loyal!
12. Remember daily the price Jesus paid for your salvation and follow Him.
13. Go and make disciples of all the nations.