“Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place” (Matthew 24:34 ESV)

Many have pointed to this verse to say that Jesus got it wrong. Even C.S. Lewis, the normally staunch defender of the faith, despaired over this verse. Yet, I lean on the verse before it and the one after it to help with my understanding.
First, the verse after it (Matt. 24:35) says, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” Jesus doesn’t seem uncertain here. In fact, he seems very certain. He says we can trust His Word more than we can trust the universe’s existence. So, I’m sure Jesus didn’t get it wrong. We might understand it wrongly, but He didn’t get it wrong.
Second, the verse before it (Matt. 24:33) says, “When you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates.” Jesus said that those who would see “all these things” would be the “generation” that would live to see His coming. Jesus was not speaking of the first century generation in his hearing, but of the one that would be alive when “all these things” come to pass.
Now, certainly some of the things, like the destruction of the temple in 70 AD, did happen during the generation that heard Christ’s words. So, one might say that “this generation” referred to two fulfillments. The first being a foreshadowing sign and the second, yet to come.
However we work this out (we could all be wrong in our interpretations), we must never despair that Jesus got it wrong. Jesus always gets it right!