Peace be with you!
Wait, wait! Jesus is coming back. It may be tomorrow, next year, next decade, or next millennium, but Jesus is coming back – not yet, but soon. We wait…at red lights, in checkout lines, for replies to emails, and in restaurant booths. We do not like being stalled in place with nothing to do. We pace back and forth nervously while we wait for the next big thing. As Christians, we are waiting for Jesus to come back and take us to the Kingdom of God. However, before Jesus travelled to the cross, he warned us against being poor stewards of our time, not actively looking for him in the world. Jesus told us to be aware of his presence and to continue to do his work in the world.
In our Gospel reading, Jesus warns us against being idle while waiting for his Second Coming. Jesus tells the crowd three anecdotes to explain the importance of being alert while waiting. First, Jesus reminds us that people were too busy eating, drinking, and marrying to acknowledge what God was doing in their lives before the Flood. The people were living in a lazy state of being – not having a care in the world. God wanted the people in Noah’s time to stop and access the world around them by looking for his presence, but they did not care to acknowledge the God who created them. Therefore, without warning or explanation, God sent the great Flood to kill his creation in order to start over. The Flood was unexpected by the general public, except Noah and his family. People were going about their everyday lives when the Flood suddenly engulfed the world. No weatherman could have predicted such a devastating natural disaster. In the same way, the Son of Man’s return to the world will be sudden and not expected (Matthew 24:38-39).
Second, Jesus explains how his return will happen. People will be living their everyday lives (reading, writing, doing paperwork and homework, cooking, baking, mining, harvesting, planting, teaching, selling, shopping, or [whatever “it” is] you do on a daily basis) when one person will disappear, leaving the other person behind (Matthew 24:40-41). Jesus’ return will bring judgment into the world and will separate the believers from the nonbelievers. Jesus will separate those who share his light in the world from those lost in the darkness. Jesus will separate the ones who continually confess their faith publically from those just sitting lazily hiding in the pews. Jesus will separate the ones rich in grace and love from those drowning in resentment and bitterness. Jesus will take his disciples to heaven and will leave the rest in the world.
Third, Jesus tells us to be watchful and mindful of his Second Coming. Just like a homeowner does not know when the thief will come, we will not know the exact moment Jesus will be returning (Matthew 24:43). We need to be alert to God’s presence in the world in order to be ready for his Son’s Second Coming, a coming which will radically change our very existence.
Jesus’ return into the world will come as a sudden surprise and will separate the believers and nonbelievers. We cannot go about our lives in a sleep-walking state of mind without noticing God’s presence in the world. We need to be alert to how God is working among us and expect the unexpected. There is no time for daydreaming or sleeping for those waiting for Jesus’ Second Coming. There is work to do: people to lead to the light, people to feed, people to provide shelter for, people to clothe, and [whatever “it” is] God calls us to do. We need to continually confess our faith to bring others into a relationship with the Triune God – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. We have work to do in the meantime. We need to stop being idle Christians and be pro-faith. We need to stay alert, because Jesus is coming and we need to be ready. Are you ready?
Come, O Lord, come!
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for promising Jesus’ return. Help us to be mindful of your presence in a world where darkness threatens to overwhelm us. Remind us to be alert and to be ready for radical change in our existence. Thank you for the hope in your promise. Amen.
Thanks to the Triune God – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Please answer the following reflective questions in the comments below. Please agree to disagree and be respectful to each other. (If you have not already done so, please also take a moment, to sign the behavior covenant by commenting on it.) You can answer as many questions as you would like.
- How do you stay alert?
- When and how do you keep confessing your faith?
- What have you witnessed that was unexpected?