There are signs all around us every day that reveal what is coming. In the Fall, we see the leaves change color and we know that colder weather and Winter is just around the corner. In the Spring, we see grass and plants turn green again and the trees burst forth with green leaves. These are all signs of warmer temps and Summer fun to come.
In the Old Testament, we can see that the prophets saw signs of the future. Daniel and Jude saw a distant future event, when Jesus, the Son of Man, would return from heaven.
I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man (Daniel 7:13).
Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones (Jude 14).
The Gospel of Matthew records a scene where Jesus is on a hillside teaching His disciples and He explains to them about some of the signs that will precede his second coming.
As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. (Matthew 24:3-9 ESV).
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory (Matthew 24:29-30 ESV).
Jesus was very clear in His teaching that He was the Messiah, that He would be killed, that He would rise from the grave, and that He would return again. History has seen His death, burial, and resurrection. But, the future holds His second coming.
Although many have speculated over the centuries about the time of this monumental event, and there are those even today who claim to know. The truth is, no one knows when Jesus will return. He makes this very clear in Matthew 24:36-44.
“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
From this passage we can learn at least four things that we should be doing while we wait.
BE PATIENT (36)
“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only”
First, we are to be patient. Since no one knows the day, we all must wait. Time and energy should not be wasted on fruitless efforts to figure out something that cannot be discovered. Verse 36 tells us that only God the Father knows the appointed day for Jesus’ return. Our time can certainly be better spent investing in our relationship with Jesus and with others and going out spreading the Good News of salvation, than sitting home speculating on dates like numbers in a lottery.
BE AWARE (37-39)
For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
Next, we should be aware. Verses 37-39 remind us of the story of Noah when he was told by God to build an ark because a tremendous flood was coming to cover the earth and destroy all living things upon the land. But, despite Noah’s warnings to the people and the fact that he was building a large boat, the people were unaware. The fact that they were unaware was not because they didn’t know or hadn’t heard. They were unaware because they chose not to listen and heed the warnings.
1 Peter 3:20 — they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared …
Unfortunately, many people live like this today. Many have heard the Gospel of Jesus, many have seen the evidence of forgiveness and redemption in the lives of believers, but they live their lives as if they are unaware. They live today as if they are guaranteed tomorrow. People have not changed that much over the centuries. The prophet Isaiah warned the people of his time and yet they continued to live for themselves, selfishly satisfying their own wants and needs with no regard for God in their lives.
Isaiah 56:12 — “Come,” they say, “let me get wine; let us fill ourselves with strong drink; and tomorrow will be like this day, great beyond measure.”
BE WATCHFUL (40-43)
Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into.
Since we don’t know when Jesus will return, we must also be watchful. Those who have been redeemed and know the joy of salvation can be watchful with anticipation of the second coming of our Lord. It will be a joyous day for His elect when He returns to take His children home. But, unfortunately, for those who were hardened and were not called unto salvation, it will be a day of great mourning. We must be careful to not be spiritually sluggish and lethargic. God calls us to be watchful and awake. How will Jesus find you when He returns, spiritually awake and watching with anticipation or spiritually asleep?
BE READY (44)
Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
Lastly, we see from this passage that we must be ready. That is, spiritually ready. Jesus taught that in order to be forgiven for our sins and to live forever in heaven, we must accept him as God’s Son and accept His gift of forgiveness. We must trust Jesus with our life and with our eternal soul. He wants to be your savior and your Lord. Jesus said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). But, He also said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). So, it’s important to understand that if you want to be spiritually ready when Jesus returns, you cannot get ready based upon your own plan or efforts. God has made a way and that is through a relationship with Jesus. Won’t you pray today and ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins and become Lord of your life?
Jesus is the King of Kings. The King is coming. He will be returning to take His children home to heaven where He has made a place for us. But no one knows when He will come. It could be today. In the meantime, while we wait,
- BE PATIENT
- BE AWARE
- BE WATCHFUL
- BE READY