Wednesday, May 6

Are you ready?

Scripture: 2 Samuel 13-14, Matthew 24

Matthew 24:42–44 “So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. 43 Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into. 44 You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.

Observation

Matthew 24 begins with the disciples marveling at the Temple buildings, and Jesus responding that they would all be torn down.  “When will this happen?” they asked.  “What will signal your return and the end of the world.”  All that follows is Jesus’ answer to those questions.

One of the most important and practical things for us to do is in v. 42-44.  Jesus told them (and us) to “keep watch” and “be ready all the time.”  He likened his return to a burglar!  You don’t know when a burglar may strike; if you did know, you would keep watch and be ready and not allow your house to be broken into. 

Paul, Peter and John would all later describe Jesus’ return as coming like a thief.  (1 Thessalonians 5:2, 4, 2 Peter 3:10, Revelation 3:3, 16:15). They were echoing Jesus’ words here, and reminding people that his coming would be unexpected, unpredictable.  Therefore…be ready.

Application

To our detriment, we don’t talk enough about the Lord’s return, or the need to be ready.  Consequently, many people aren’t!  In v. 45-51, Jesus gives an example of what happens when someone thinks the master’s return is far off: “he begins beating the other servants, partying and getting drunk.”  In other words, not ready.  Are you ready?  If Jesus came today—and He could—are you ready?

What does it look like to keep watch and be ready all the time?  What if each day I began by reminding myself, “Jesus could come today,” and then thoughtfully lived with that in mind.  That expectation could change me!   

When I was doing youth ministry in the 1970’s, the Lord’s return was much discussed and anticipated (not so much today).  Hal Lindsay’s huge best-seller The Late Great Planet Earth spawned a cottage industry in end times books and paraphernalia.  Wearing buttons was popular, so we had one made that said, “Today is the day!”  When people asked what it meant, we said, “Today is the day Jesus could come back.  Are you ready?”  All of this attention on the Lord’s return created a more intense focus on our spiritual state: we wanted to be ready.  We wanted to be watching.  

This doesn’t necessarily mean a fatalistic, single day approach, as in, “Today is the last day—there is no need to plan beyond today.”  It’s been said that the day before Jesus returns, someone will plant a tree, someone will start a school or hospital, someone will marry.  In other words, we plan and live for the long run by necessity, but keep watch and be ready all the time.  It’s not either/or.  Both are important.  

I’m making long-term plans today.  I also want to be ready for Jesus should He come today!  

Prayer: Lord, help us keep watch and be ready all the time for Your return!