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  • Matthew Emadi

Understanding the Olivet Discourse

I recently preached five sermons on the Olivet Discourse as recorded in Mark 13 (cf. Mt 24; Lk 21). You can find my take on this hotly disputed passage of Scripture here (weeks 48–52). Whether you agree with my interpretation or not, here are a few major issues that you must wrestle with:

  1. The broader context of Mark 11–12 and the immediate context of Mark 13:1–4 indicates that Jesus’ sermon, in part, pertains to the rejection of Jerusalem’s religious establishment and the impending destruction of the Jerusalem temple (Mk 13:1–4).

  2. In light of the parallel text in Luke 21:20, the “abomination of desolation” in Mark 13:14 most likely refers to the Roman armies that brought desolation upon Jerusalem.

  3. Mark 13:30 is about as plain as it gets: “Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.” Interpreters try hard to make this very clear statement fit their futuristic interpretation. Some suggest that “generation” refers to the human race, while others indicate that “this generation” refers to the generation that will be alive during the 2nd coming of Christ. Neither of these positions is exegetically defensible. When Jesus speaks of “this generation” in the gospels, he means his ancient contemporaries.

With those three points in mind, I hope these sermons challenge your thinking and bless your soul.

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