Summary: In Jesus’ last sermon before He was betrayed, He stressed the need to keep watch and be ready for His return, emphasizing it with three parables. Are you doing what He expects from you? This ought to be our concern today.
We’ve just read a portion of Jesus’ last sermon to His disciples before He was betrayed.
• It stretches from Chapter 23 to 25, with a large part of it about His second coming.
• This is the main theme of His long message. It is understandable, since He is about to leave them.
• Jesus needs to tell them about His return, and what they are supposed to do.
He describes this day with certainty. He leaves no room for doubt.
• He did not say He may return but that He WILL return.
• He did not tell us when the day will be (nobody knows, except God the Father)
• But He did describe to us what the day would be like.
This is important – not when will He return, but circumstances prior to His return.
• We need to listen to what He has to say, because we are in that situation now.
(1) It will be like the days of Noah, Jesus said.
• What was it like in Noah’s days? It was “business as usual.”
• People go through their daily routines, sceptical of what is to come.
• Few believe God’s Word, and many are unprepared for Christ’s return.
(2) It will be like a thief in the night, Jesus said.
• How does a thief come to your house? Sudden and unannounced.
• A thief will not call and make appointment in advance.
• He comes when we do not expect him.
If this is the condition of our time prior to His return, then we need to take note.
• We do not want to be caught unprepared and not ready.
• Note the 2 main commands here: “Keep watch” (v.42) and “be ready” (v.44)
• Jesus wants us to remain focused on this fact – He is returning soon.
• What we need to take note is not about the time of His return - but the condition of our heart.
• Are we ready? Are we doing what He expects from us?
Noticed Jesus used 3 parables in a row to emphasize this need.
• 24:44-51 – talks about the faithful and wise servants waiting for the return of their master.
• 25:1-13 – the ten virgins with the lamps waiting for the bridegroom.
• 25:14-18 – the servants entrusted with different number of talents and waiting for their master’s return.
All three has the same thrust. It’s not about the time of the master’s return.
• It is about what the people are doing while waiting for his return.
• 24:46 “It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns.” He should be doing what the master has entrusted him.
• The virgins waiting for the bridegroom ought to have prepared enough oil for the lamps. That’s their job. That is what is expected from them.
• The servants with the talents are expected to do something with them before the master returns.
These parables tell us to look at our PRESENT state – what are we doing NOW to prepare for His return.
In order words, we need to live in the light of seeing Him again.
• We need to be keenly aware of our responsibility before Him, as His stewards.
• We need to remind ourselves that we are accountable to Him in all that we do, here and now.
This may sound simple but it is not easy.
• We are near-sighted people; we focus only on today, because that’s all we see.
• We live for today because today is here.
• We forget about eternity because it is vague and we cannot see it.
• We don’t look far enough. The Govt has to get us to plan for our retirement and save up for old age.
• And as Christians, we are to look even further. This world is not our home.
Learn from Noah. God said a flood will come and he believed God.
• Even though it did not look like it’s going to rain for a long time, Noah trusted God.
• For many years, he faithfully built the ark according to God’s instruction.
• Gen 6:22 “Noah did everything just as God commanded him.”
• And the rain did come. He was prepared and he was saved.
We are called to be faithful in doing what God has called us to do.
The superintendent of a large school was concerned about the mess he found in so many of the classrooms he visited. Papers were often scattered on the floor, and the students’ desks were very messy. Feeling strongly that learning could not take place in such an untidy environment, he decided to take action.
He chose one classroom for an experiment, and said to the students one morning: "Your teacher, principal and I provide a well-equipped classroom for you to enjoy but we need your help in keeping your desks and the classroom orderly. Many of you have crumpled papers inside your desks with books left open and the pages bent. Often there are pencils on the floor under your desks along with other rubbish.