READING: Leviticus 4-5, Matthew 24:29-51
“This is why you also must be ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
Jesus is coming back. Personally. Some day.
Perhaps today, even.
I’ve known that truth for a long time. When I first became a believer in the early 1970s, the topic of the Second Coming was the rage among believers. Many writers published books on the topic. Prophecy conferences were well attended. Movies about Jesus’ return were popular. Some of us had our own “prophecy timeline” charts – some that seemed to stretch completely around a Sunday school room! I was so convinced that the signs of Jesus’ coming were being fulfilled rapidly that I didn’t think I would graduate from high school before He returned. I was wrong. Way off, in fact.
In some ways, though, I think I’m still wrong now more than four decades later. You see, I don’t think much about His return today. Those thoughts continually rattled in my head during my teenage years, but not in my 50’s. I watched the news with “2nd coming eyes” back then, but not now. I prayed fervently then for my friends and loved ones to follow Jesus before He came back; still I pray for them, but not always with the urgency and passion I had then. In some ways, I’m guilty of being like the people of Noah’s day: going through the routine of life, “eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage” (Matt. 24:38), but thinking too little about coming judgment. Nothing makes me think daily, “This could be the day that Jesus comes back.”
That’s why I’m deeply grateful for today’s Bible reading. Jesus not only gave us these words about His return, but the Holy Spirit also inspired men to record these words for us today. Those of us who’ve lost our vigilance need to hear the Word: “Therefore be alert, since you don’t know what day your Lord is coming” (Matt. 24:42). I truly don’t know the day, but I do know He will come at an hour we do not expect (Matt. 24:44). If He chooses to come more quickly than I thought, I want to be ready; if He delays His coming longer than I thought, I want to be found working.
Once again, the Word of God reminds me that I ought to live differently today. Indeed, I should sin less often, pray more passionately, evangelize more regularly, and do missions more sacrificially as I watch for Jesus’ coming. I should live in such a way that I would welcome the return of the Bridegroom today.
- Live your life today as you would if you knew Jesus would return this day.
- Thank God that His words will not pass away, even though heaven and earth will (Matt. 24:35). We can trust His words.
PRAYER: “Jesus, I want to waiting, watching, and working when You return. Help me to live that way today.”
TOMORROW'S READING: Leviticus 6-7, Matthew 25:1-30