The Disciples' Questions
.....Jesus leads His disciples through the Kidron Valley to the Mount of Olives just east of the city where they can view the Temple complex. But it is not the scenery that the disciples have in mind, but the words of Christ when they raise their questions prompting the Discourse. Here, the three versions each add pertinent information.
.....The Gospel of Mark tells us that it was four disciples, Peter, Andrew, James and John, who came to Jesus with their questions in private. They seem to have had a special relationship with the Lord, being present for several other unique moments in Christ’s life. Luke’s version focuses on the question concerning the destruction of the Temple, asking ‘when’ it will happen and what will be the ‘sign’ that will signal its imminent fulfillment. Matthew’s version is the broadest, including questions concerning Jesus’ return and the ‘end of the age’.
.....The addition of the extra questions in Matthew’s account raises the possibility of a double fulfillment for some of the prophecies in the Discourse. It would not be the first time prophecies have pulled double duty as some in the Old Testament pertaining to the Messiah can attest. But as already mentioned, the fulfillment of the more immediate prophecies in 70 AD simply serves to validate those predicting events yet to occur. Jesus is coming and this age will end, and we would be wise to be on the alert for the signs pointing to their imminent occurence.
.....But why did Jesus give us these signs? Because they will Direct our actions, Identify important persons and events, Warn against future dangers and Confirm when the final destination is reached. Properly read, the alert pilgrim will not lose his way, but will be well informed and find his path enlightened by the signs, like lamp posts on a darkened road.