1. The “great buildings” mentioned in verses 1-2 refer to the temple built by Herod in Jerusalem. It was a monumental building such as the Empire State Building or the World Trade Center of today. Verses 1-2 indicate that the disciples’ view of such “buildings” was different from how Jesus saw them. Compare what Jesus said to his disciples [concerning the buildings in front of them] with what he says in verse 13. What does this comparison teach us about the correct way to see people, events, and the things of this world?
2.In verses 3-4 Jesus’ disciples brought up the issue of “eschatology” [a branch of theology concerning the end of the world or humankind] particularly the question of “when” and “what” [signs will occur prompting the ‘end’ time to arrive]. Jesus’ answer to their questions in verses 5-37 indicates that Jesus found it necessary for the disciples to know the answer. Why?
3.Think about the following exhortations: a) Watch out that no one deceives you (5); b) You must be on your guard (9); c) Be on your guard (23); d) Be on your guard (33a); e) Be alert (33b);f) Keep watch (34); and g) Watch! (37). What do these expressions have in common? Why might Jesus have emphasized a seemingly obvious point again and again?
4.Verse 7b says, “…but the ‘end’ is still to come.” Compare the time called “the end” with “at that time” in verses 26-27. In what respect will the coming (again) of the Son of Man constitute “the end”?
5.Skim through verses 5-30 and think about the following events: a) “Many …will deceive…many” (6,22); b) “wars and rumors of wars” (7,8); c) “earthquakes in various places…and famines” (8);“abomination …standing where it does not belong” (14); or “the heavenly bodies will be shaken (24-25). Compare these expressions with Jesus’ analogy of “birth pains.” Describe how birth pains come. When will they end? What does Jesus’ analogy indicate about the direction towards which human history is heading?
6.Examine verses 9-13. What does this passage tell us about the things Jesus’ witnesses should do despite challenging people and events? What does the word “all” (in “to all nations”) mean?
7.Read verses 31-37. What shows that Jesus’ words will certainly come true? Although Jesus says, “No one…[but only the Father] knows about ‘that’ day or hour” why do many still try to go beyond what Jesus said? What does this passage tell us about the duties (other than the duty to preach the gospel) we need to attend to as his servants in our day to day life?