In this devotional series, we’re taking a look at Matthew 24 & 25 to see what Jesus teaches us about his return and the end of the current age of history. Today, we’ll consider Matthew 24:32-51.
Every year, it seems, someone comes out with a new prediction–a day and hour about when the world will end. Some base it on calculations they’ve done through supposed secret Bible codes, some base it on what they perceive as certain heavenly signs like eclipses, and some base it on things like the Mayan calendar.
Yet, when it comes to such predictions, Jesus says that making them is futile. Jesus said in Matthew 24:36, “Now concerning that day and hour no one knows–neither the angels of heaven nor the Son–except the Father alone.” So, at least during his time on earth, not even Jesus was told the day and hour by the Father. If Jesus didn’t know, then we can be sure that whatever new book predicting the end that hits the shelves isn’t worth reading.
But this mystery surrounding the time of Jesus’ return should not lead his faithful followers to spiritual apathy or laziness. Jesus does say that we can see by certain signs, presumably the increasing birth pangs from earlier in the chapter, that the end is getting closer. But apart from this, we don’t know if it will be in our lifetime or in a hundred lifetimes from now.
So, heeding Jesus’ words, what do we do while we wait?
First, we live life as normal. Jesus compares his return to the flood of Noah, where people continued on with life as usual until the flood unexpectedly hit (at least unexpectedly for those outside of Noah’s family). They ate, drank, and married “until the flood came and swept them all away” (24:37-39). Now, at first glance this might seem like a reason to not “live life as normal,” but we must consider what Jesus said next:
This is the way the coming of the Son of Man will be. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding grain with a hand mill; one will be taken and one left. (24:39-41)
The “taken and left” indicates the difference between those going with Jesus into eternal joy and those without Jesus going into eternal judgment. But when one is taken and one is left, both are doing everyday things. So, we don’t live in fear or anxiety. We don’t separate ourselves from society to live in some compound. We go about life as normal. But…
Second, we live life as normal but expectant. Jesus next says to “stay alert” and “be ready.” He then gives the illustration of a servant put in charge of a house while the master is away. Jesus said, “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master has put in charge of his household, to give them food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom the master finds doing his job when he comes.” (24:45-46)
Jesus gave us a job in this life: We’re to use our talents, resources, and experiences to love God supremely, love others deeply, and seek to make more disciples of Jesus. So, as we go about our daily lives, we are also to be people who happily worship God and live blamelessly, strive to meet needs, tell others about Jesus, and help other followers of Jesus grow in their faith.
In this way, we make ourselves ready for the return of our Savior-King, no matter when the day and hour will be.
All scripture references taken from the Christian Standard Bible. For the previous part of this series, click here: https://fbcadrian.com/2018/07/23/the-world-will-know-the-last-days-part-4/