LOL! I'm sure no one thinks it's ever a complete surprise. (Although that has supposedly happened, too, in rare cases.)
Jesus said that the "synteliea" [which can mean a "destructive final end"] would come upon Jerusalem within one generation, within the lifetime of some of those disciples who heard him speak. So it could not have come as a complete surprise. They knew the "season" just as anyone who sees a fig tree blossom knows that summer is near.
But apparently Jesus himself didn't know how long long this judgement event (proto-parousia) upon Jerusalem would have to wait. He only knew that the kingdom was not going to manifest itself instantly and that there would be a need for patience and endurance, that there would be a seeming delay, and that they should not be misled by great earthquakes, or international wars, or persecution, or famine. They would go through a period of time that would allow for preaching to be done all around their known world. Jesus knew that the Gentiles would be preached to during that same generation. The good news would be preached in all the known nations of their world before that end came. Paul did not declare that this had happened until the 50's or 60's when he told the Colossians:
(Colossians 1:23; New Living Translation) But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don't drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed as God's servant to proclaim it.
Only after the actual first sign, the parousia and synteleia upon Jerusalem (the "sign" they asked about) could the parousia and synteleia for the world now occur at any time "instantly." Matthew 24:30-36, New Living Translation:
And then at last, the sign that the Son of Man is coming will appear in the heavens, and there will be deep mourning among all the peoples of the earth. And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.h 31And he will send out his angels with the mighty blast of a trumpet, and they will gather his chosen ones from all over the worldi—from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven.
32“Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branches bud and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near. 33In the same way, when you see all these things, you can know his return is very near, right at the door. 34I tell you the truth, this generationj will not pass from the scene until all these things take place. 35Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.
36“However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself.k Only the Father knows.
Early contractions coming before or during the eighth month are a danger sign, indicating that something is wrong with the woman or the baby - e.g. the womb not expanding or some other ailment. There is nothing normal about that. That is premature and a hospitalization event, sometimes meriting a Caesarean section. So I don't think Jesus would be talking about that - he would be considering what is the usual thing.
As a woman, who has given birth, I am not sure I would say that "birth pangs" or going into labour, is a surprise. In fact a pregnant woman in her last few weeks is expecting to go into labour soon. The only time she will be surprised and not expecting it is if she goes into labour prematurely, at an unaturaly early date in her pregnancy. However, the surprise element could be in that she could go into labour while out shopping and her waters break in the middle of the shop floor (or in the middle of a field in Jesus' day). So although she may be expecting to go into labour at any time, she could be caught at a rather inconvenient moment. So in view of that, what was Jesus saying?
I HOPE THEY SOON WILL DO IT, BUT JEHOVAH'S PLAN IS NOT A SIMPLE PEOPLE PLAN - ITS MORE COMPLICATED, BUT IT WILL FULL REACH THE GOAL, JEHOVAH IS PLANING... NO PROBLEM FOR HIM, HE WILL MAKE IT ! THANK YOU SO MUCH OUR LOVING GOD
SOON THE DAY IS THERE