Summary: To be examined is the suddenness and unexpected nature of Jesus' return. All Bible references are from the NASB.
Yes, Jesus is coming again and we see the signs all around us. That is a central fact that all serious Bible Scholars agree. What Biblical scholars are is not in agreement with is the when of His return. But there are some things we are in agreement about: Jesus will return physically and with power. Jesus will return not just in Spirit, but in His body and Jesus will return on the clouds of Heaven and every eye will see Him.
Revelation 1:7 BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So, it is to be. Amen.
It will be no secret when He does come. Everyone in the whole earth will know it. The finer points of his actual physical return are described in bits and pieces throughout Scripture and how it is all put together is very much in discussion. Be wary of those who seem to have all the answers, exclaiming everyone else with a different view is wrong.
What is interesting to note, is that in Jewish theology, they look at the coming of the Messiah as not yet happen, but when the Messiah comes, it will be an end time scenario, the Day of the Lord, much the same as we Christians view it. It is believed that many Jews will come to know Jesus as the Messiah before that Day does come. The question this morning is, however, when will that day be? That is the focus of today focal passage. Just when is Jesus coming again?
A gardener for a large estate in northern Italy was conducting a visitor through the castle and the beautiful, well-groomed grounds. As the visitor had lunch with the gardener and his wife, he commended them for the beautiful way they were keeping the gardens. He asked, "By the way, when was the last time the owner was here?" He said, "It was about ten years ago." The visitor asked, "Then why do you keep the gardens in such an immaculate, lovely manner?" He said, "Because I’m expecting him to return." He persisted, "Is he coming next week?" The gardener replied, "I don’t know when he is coming, but I am expecting him today." Although he didn’t come that day, he was living in the light of the owner’s imminent return. The gardener wasn’t hanging over the gate, watching down the road to see whether his master was coming. He was in the garden, trimming, cutting, mowing, weeding, and planting. He was busy.
As followers of Jesus we are not to just stand and wait for Jesus to return, we are to be busy until that day comes. Jesus tells us:
Matthew 24:36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.
We are told, no one knows the day or the time. There is a tension between verses 32-35 and verse 36-41. On one hand we are told to watch for the signs and on the other we are told, that we do not know the day or the hour.
It is interesting to note the three parables Jesus tells in the verses that follow our passage today (and we will be covering them in the weeks ahead). The first parable about thief in the night (Matt 24:43-44) is about His unexpected return. The next parable, about a slave in charge of his master’s household (Matt 24:45-51) is about Jesus’ return that is sooner than expected. And the third parable with the 10 bridesmaids (Matt 25:1-13) is about His return later than expected. Jesus cover all the bases. We don’t know when. his return may be sooner or later, and it will be unexpected.
But Jesus does not want us to be un-aware. The fact that the Day of His coming is drawing closer, should motivate us all the more to bring in more of our friends and family into the fold of God. But the fact of the matter is, the delay of His coming only seems to make us lazy. We put off the things we know we should be doing today. Peter talks about this. He tells us of skeptics and mockers as that Day approaches:
2 Peter 3:3–4 Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.”
So life goes on, day end and day out. Jesus commented on this. Jesus compared this to the day of Noah: