Summary: Getting ready for Judgment Day? How do I do that?
Mark 13:32-37: ARE YOU READY?
NIV Mark 13:32 "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. 34 It's like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. 35 "Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back-- whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. 36 If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. 37 What I say to you, I say to everyone: 'Watch!'"
Do you like to decorate your house this time of the year? Lots of people decorate their homes in the fall and as the season changes to winter. Do you do that? I remember thinking to myself that I wouldn’t be one of those people that do all that decorating. But then I got married, and my wife likes decorating. And then I had kids – and they want the house decorated too. So now, that’s what I do this time of the year. Thanksgiving is at the end of this month, so it’s time to get out the hay bales and scarecrows and pumpkins and gourds – have to get ready for Thanksgiving. And the day after Thanksgiving it’s time to get out the lights and the trees and the ribbons and the wreaths – have to get ready for Christmas. Without the decorations – you’re not ready – at least that’s what my wife and kids tell me.
There is one holiday that God wants us to always be ready for – it will be the greatest holiday you have ever experienced. And that will be Judgment Day. And just as a person puts time and effort into getting ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas – Jesus tells us to get ready for Judgment Day – “keep watch” Jesus says. How do you get ready? How do you stay ready? Today Jesus will answer these questions, as we focus on his holy Word.
Jesus tells us that Judgment Day will be a surprise: “No one knows about that day or hour…. You do not know when that time will come.” On your calendar where you see your 30 or 31 squares – at the bottom of every square – every day – it should say, “maybe Judgment Day.” Today, Nov. 7, is “maybe Judgment Day.” Tomorrow, Nov. 8, is “maybe Judgment Day.” It’s the biggest day ever – and yet no one knows when that day will take place.
It will feel like any other day in your life – whatever you normally do at home, at work, with your family, your children – your forms of recreation – a day like any other day. As Jesus said, you and I are his servants, “each with his assigned task.” And then everything will stop – no TV, no cell phone or computer or electronic or internet – nothing. The music will stop, the traffic will stop, the talking will stop, the working, the playing, the sleeping – everything will stop – the whole world will shut down. And it could be at any time of the day. Jesus said maybe “in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn.” The king has returned, as our Gospel lesson has said – to “call his servants to account.”
And you will look up, and what will Judgment Day sound like? Your ears will be filled with the loud trumpet call of God, and you will hear the voices of thousand upon thousands of angels. And what will you see? They sky will open, and as one of our readings describes, “Jesus will be revealed in blazing fire from heaven, with his powerful angels.” All that holiness, all that power, all that glory, coming out of the sky and directly at you.
Will you be ready? Every day is potentially Judgment Day. Every new hour that appears on your clock could be the hour. Jesus tells us that he wants us to be spiritually awake, to be alert, to not be spiritually sleeping when he arrives. Just as you clean your house before a big holiday, have you cleansed your life of all sin? That’s how you get ready. Just as you decorate your house with various things before a holiday, have you decorated your life with faith? With love toward God and his Word? With love toward others? Are you ready?
“I don’t know” a person might say. Maybe we’re ready right after church when we’re standing in the lobby on a Sunday morning. But what about when I’m at work on a Monday morning, and things are stressful. What about on a Friday night when I’m with my friends. What about when I’m alone in front of a computer? What about when I’m at home, and there’s some conflict or disagreement. Am I always ready? My heart is always cleansed of sin? My life is always decorated with love toward God and others?