The parable of the fig tree is pretty easy to understand. Fig trees grow their leaves in the spring, like most trees, and when you see them, you know that summer is coming soon. In the very same way, when all of these signs and wonders are seen, you will know that the end of the current age is coming to a close. What is harder to understand is the statement that “this generation will not pass away until all has taken place.” (v. 32) Certainly everyone who was alive in the first century have passed away, so how could Jesus say “truly”? The answer is that the Greek word translated “generation” has more than one meaning. The most common is what we usually think of for “generation”: everyone alive at a particular time. But it can also mean a type or kind of person, like wicked or righteous, and it can also mean “race”, which would refer to the Jews in this case.
Jesus’s next statement is also interesting to think about. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” (v. 33) People tend to think that the earth they stand on and the skies above them are unshakable and everlasting, but Jesus tells us that’s not true at all. Even naturalists understand that the Sun can’t burn forever and the universe would eventually grind to a halt. But our lives seem so short in comparison that such knowledge doesn’t affect us. However, this view is wrong too because the Bible teaches that we shall all last for eternity, either living in the light of the Lord’s glory or dying forever in the lake of fire.
Because of this reality, Jesus warns His listeners to live their lives in the expectation that He will come back at any moment. If we waste our lives on useless pleasures that are only good for the short moment we experience them, then that day will come upon us like a trap springing closed. Or, if not that day, then the day of our deaths could come at any time, and the end result is the same. Beloved, be ready for your Lord to come home, so that He does not find your service wanting.
Finally, Luke gives us a note on how Jesus spent His days during this time. He would come into Jerusalem to teach in the temple each day, but then at night He would leave to stay on the Mount of Olives.
Keep us watchful, waiting patiently for Your return. Let us not grow weary in doing good.