“Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Matthew 24.42-44, NKJV)
Someone recently asked me if I thought Jesus would come back in 2012. My response was that I believe He could return in 2011. Understand, I’m not saying that He will return this year but that He could return. I believe that God has intended that we always live in expectation that Jesus could return at any time. But agreeing theoretically that He could return and living life in such a way that we really expect Him are two different things. In the above verse Jesus simply tells us to watch and be ready. So what are we to watch?
We have a tendency to watch the news, to watch TV, to watch others, but are we watching ourselves? Immediately following His commandment, Jesus illustrates with a parable:
“A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them. If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward. I tell you the truth, the master will put that servant in charge of all he owns. But what if the servant is evil and thinks, ‘My master won’t be back for a while,’ and he begins beating the other servants, partying, and getting drunk? The master will return unannounced and unexpected, and he will cut the servant to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 24:45-51, NLT)
This servant knew the right thing to do, but because he didn’t think his master was coming back for a while, he eased up. Rather than fulfilling his duty in managing the other servants and feeding them, he began to beat them, to party and to get drunk. He stopped watching himself and started indulging himself. Consequently, he neglected his duty and was ill prepared for his master’s arrival.
Watch the Times
It is commendable to know the days in which we live. In 1 Chron. 12.32 we read of the men of Issachar, who “understood the times and knew what Israel should do.” Jesus rebuked the religious leaders of His day because they weren’t reading the signs of the times (Matt. 16.1-3). This generation has seen more Bible prophecy being fulfilled than any other since Jesus walked the earth. The stage is being set for the coming world leader whom the Bible calls the Antichrist. But before he is revealed the Lord will return for His church (1 Thes. 4.16-17; 2 Thes. 2.6-8). I believe that we are living in the days of “The Great Apostasy” where many are turning away from the faith (1 Tim. 4.1; 2 Thes. 2.3). These things indicate that our days are few.
Watch the Lord
As the apostle Paul came to the end of his life, he knew that he had kept the faith, fought the good fight, and finished the race (2 Tim. 4.6-8). Consequently, he knew that he would receive a “crown of righteousness” from the Lord. This was not only for Paul, but also for all who love the Lord’s appearing. While heaven will be filled with many wonderful things, I am convinced that the greatest part of heaven will simply be to see Jesus face-to-face. Do we really love His appearing? Are we truly seeking His face? I know of no better way to be ready to meet Him than to long to see Him.
May God help us always to watch ourselves, watch the times, and watch for our Lord. May He help us be faithful in those things He has given us to do, so that whether our Lord comes this year, this month or today, we are ready!
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