Matthew 24:32-35 (ESV)

32 “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. 34 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

Jesus instructed his disciples to learn the lesson he taught, using the fig tree as an illustration. Many trees in Israel kept their leaves year round, but the fig tree lost its leaves in the winter and grew new ones in the spring. Jesus reminded his followers that they could tell summer was coming when the fig tree’s branches began to put forth new leaves. In the same way, when the signs that Jesus spoke of appear, his followers will know the end is near. This promise was so certain that Jesus stated it would be easier for the physical universe to end than it would be for his words to fail (v. 35). Jesus said, “This generation will not pass away until all these things take place.” Many believe that Jesus was referring to the fact that the temple would be destroyed a few decades after this conversation, especially since the words of Jesus that triggered the entire Olivet Discourse were “There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down” (24:2). Many alive at the time would live to see the temple and Jerusalem fall to the Roman army. In addition, he spoke of the coming tribulation. The future generation of Israel will see the Great Tribulation, the abomination of desolation, and the second coming of Christ.

What Jesus declared and taught is absolute truth. We can know with confidence that what he said will come to pass. We live with an assurance that the sun will appear with the morning, the earth will continue to spin day in and day out, and the moon will remain in the heavens. We should be even more certain that the words of Jesus are true. We don’t know when we will leave this planet, but we do know that none of us will live here forever. We have a choice to make. Are we going to listen to the words of Jesus, which are firm and factual and will never fail? Or are we going to listen to the voices of the world, the sinful desires of our flesh, and the promptings of our spiritual enemy? Let’s choose to follow Jesus. Even if we are already Christians, let’s determine anew today to listen to and obey the words of our Lord.