Are we all ready for the Lord’s return?
In Matthew 24, Jesus is on the Mount of Olives with His disciples.
He issues them three descriptions of His return; each one carrying a haunting theme.
Be Prepared, Be Watchful and Be Ready!
Feel free to move on, or for those interested in obtaining some context into today’s passage, click HERE to read “Setting up Christ’s private discussion on the Mount of Olives.“
We begin with a reference to the past. “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.” (24:37) So what were the days of Noah like? What were people doing? What was important to people?
Genesis chapter 6 tells us, “The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.”
Before the flood, people’s hearts were set on their own sinful desires. They had forgotten God and saw no need for him. “For in the days before the flood…” (24:38)
Before the flood everyone was eating, drinking, marrying and giving in marriage. What does this mean exactly? In short, everyone will be having a good time. Everyone will be celebrating. For most people on the earth, life will be pretty good.
They’re eating and drinking which sustains life. And they’re marrying and giving in marriage, which sustains humanity. In the last days, people foolishly were looking toward a long, full life that would not come to pass.
“…they knew nothing…” (24:38-39)
In contrast, while the people were going about their lives, Noah was getting prepared. When “…Noah entered the ark…they knew nothing about what would happen…” (24:38-39)
Even though Noah had told them what God had said, they ignored the warnings and continued their sinful and selfish ways. Jesus tags this description with, “That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.”
There’s an unspoken instruction here.
If the last days are to be like the days of Noah, then to survive the last days, we’d be wise to follow Noah’s example.
Like Noah, the disciples and all Christian have received God’s advanced warning. With that advanced warning, there is work to be done.
Christians ought to be prepared for the Lord’s return.
Next, Jesus gives a couple examples from daily life in first century Jerusalem. “Two men will be in the field…” (24:40) Just a regular workday doing what they do every day. All of sudden, one of them is taken.
But this scenario begs a couple of questions. During their time working together, did the Christian man ever share the Gospel with the other man? And did the man reject Christ? Or did the Christian remain silent about his faith?
“Two women…with a hand-mill…” (24:41)
Next, we have “Two women will be grinding with a hand-mill…” (24:41) Again, just a regular workday doing what they do every day. All of a sudden, one of them is taken.
Again, questions come to my mind about their relationship. Did the Christian woman ever share the Gospel with her work-mate, while they were grinding flour together? Did she reject the Gospel? Or was the Christian woman silent about her faith?
“Therefore keep watch…” (24:42)
Jesus’ instruction after these two examples is, “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.” (24:42)
If there are two people working together and one of them is keeping watch for something to take place, the other person should notice.
The obvious questions:
“What are you watching for?” or “What are you waiting for?”
If two people work together day in and day out, the person who’s not a Believer should at least know what a Christian is and that their coworker is one. If a Christian is living in a watchful state, the people closest to them should notice.
Christians ought to be watchful for the Lord’s return.
Next, Jesus uses a metaphor to speak of things to come. “If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming,” (24:43) Now, we should acknowledge that for at least some of you, Jesus referring to himself as a thief seems a bit strange.
I assure you that His example really does work in relation to His return. However, before we unpack the meaning, it’s important to note that this theme of Jesus being like a thief is found throughout the New Testament.
“…he would have kept watch…” (24:43)
Continuing in verse 43, Jesus adds, “…he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.” (24:43)
If a homeowner knew his house was going to be broken into, he would get himself a really good flashlight or even better, a spotlight. Then he’d position himself in a secure position where he could hear and see anything that might be approaching his home.
The homeowner wouldn’t sleep that night.
If he knew for sure that tonight was the night that his home was going to be broken into, would he be able to sleep?
Each and every minute that past would be more important than the last; knowing that he was one more minute closer to the thief’s arrival.
“…you also must be ready…” (24:44)
Jesus ends this metaphor in verse 44 with “So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” (24:44)
In other words, a Christian should be like that homeowner who is waiting for the thief’s arrival. And being ready isn’t just about waiting.
It’s not about relaxing or performing some hobby to pass the time. Being ready means being alert, being in a position of good vantage point and being in a stance that is ready for action.
Christians ought to be ready for the Lord’s return.
Join the Conversation, Leave Your Thoughts
What should we be doing personally to prepare for Christ’s return? What should we be doing as a church?