Advent: December 11

Matt 24:35-44

…’Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

‘But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.

‘Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: if the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

Jesus responds to a comment by a disciple about the massive stones used to construct the Temple. They won’t be standing long, was Jesus’ reply. He goes on to describe the difficult times ahead for the Jewish nation. This leads on to Jesus describing what will happen globally prior to his return to earth.

Jesus does not know when exactly this will be, as this is privileged information held by Father God, at least while Jesus is still on earth, but he does know how it will happen. You can read more about this in Mark’s Gospel.

Everyone mocked Noah. Noah was building that blessed ark for possibly 60-120 years. Generations watched this crazy man and his happy-to-be-paid workers putting together a massive boat without sails or a rudder, and they laughed at him. Great entertainment, until, of course, the rains came.

Do you sometimes wonder whether the message of the Gospel is getting through to people? Has the redeeming love of God, proved by the death of Jesus on a cross, and evidenced in you, in whom Christ Jesus lives by his Holy Spirit, not turned the hearts of those you know? It may be that people’s hearts are hard. Don’t keep knocking at locked doors: instead, pray for hearts to be softened.

As to the men in the field and the women at the mill, there are all sorts of views held by different Christians. There is no single, unambiguous understanding of the Bible. Depending on the viewpoint of your faith community, the event might happen before Jesus returns, as he returns, after he returns, and, for some, not at all! The one taken went to Jesus, or to punishment. We can get bogged down in eschatology (the study of the final things). We’ll find out all about it when it happens.

Rather than blow a gasket on this, we should do as Jesus tells us, and be ready for whatever happens. We should expect Jesus to return at any time, and so be always ready for him (you can’t be ready after he’s arrived). We should be sharing the good news with the world that surrounds us, be praying for the salvation of souls, and be trusting God for his guidance and protection. That way, however things develop, we’ll know where we’re headed.

Could Christ be returning soon?

What might you need to revise regarding the way you live your life?

Who do you desire to be heading to heaven with you?

What happens if I Jesus finds me with unrepented sin?

Father God, Jesus told us of signs of the coming of a new age. Help me distinguish the experience of the terrible things that are going on now against those that signify what Jesus prophesied. Let me not end up as one who hid away. Amen.

Till he returns

Et iterum venturus est – and he will come again