Friday, March 16, 2012

Be Ready For Jesus Return

We don't know when so we need to be ready continuously for the return of our Savior.

Matthew 24:42-46 “So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. 43 Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into. 44 You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.

45 “A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them. 46 If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward.

Matthew 25:1-6 “Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten bridesmaids who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 The five who were foolish didn’t take enough olive oil for their lamps, 4 but the other five were wise enough to take along extra oil. 5 When the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

6 “At midnight they were roused by the shout, ‘Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out and meet him!’

Matthew 25:14-15 “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone. 15 He gave five bags of silver to one, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities. He then left on his trip.

Given the seriousness of the events that will take place in the end times, Jesus makes it very clear to his disciples that they need to be ready. (Signs and Wonders of The Antichrist and The Great Tribulation) Jesus tells them that things are going to go crazy in this world and that we need to keep alert and be ready at all times. As Jesus so often did, he told them some parables to illustrate his point, he wanted there to be no confusion about something so serious.

The parable of the wicked servant (Matthew 24:45-51)

The wicked servant may have started out okay but when the master delays there is the temptation to be selfish, lazy, disobedient or immoral. It is a very natural reaction, our carnal nature takes charge, it's like your parents telling you not to do a certain thing while they are away from the house, you may think you can get away with it, but there is always a chance that they will arrive home early.

Jesus had already scolded the leaders in the previous chapter for mistreating the people that were under their care. (Matthew 23:1-36) God gave them their position as leaders in the church and they should perform their service with an eye toward the fact that Jesus may return at any moment.

The parable of the ten virgins (Matthew 25:1-13)

I never really understood this parable before studying it today, I didn't realize that a wedding procession in Palestinian from the bride's home to the groom's house usually took place at night, the bridesmaids are outside the bride's home waiting for the groom to get there to escort her to his home.
In traditional Palestinian weddings, messengers may repeatedly announce the bridegroom's coming, yet it can be delayed for hours. Delays occur while the bride's relatives haggle over the value of presents given them, emphasizing the bride's great value and thus the wisdom of the groom's selection .
- Inter Varsity Press Commentary
This parable tells of the tragedy of experiencing the second coming of Christ unprepared. It didn't matter that the virgins fell asleep the tragedy was in the fact that they knew about delays yet they didn't prepare for them and they needed to go get ready after the groom came, it's too late.

Both of these parables refer to the delay of Christ's coming and warn us that we must beware that the long wait for the return of Jesus does not lead to apathy and carelessness.

The parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30)

Christians are required to be active. How can you be a Christ follower if you are sitting in a recliner all of the time? Christians who refuse to use the gifts and the money that God has given them to use for his work will encounter harsh judgment when Christ returns. We have the opportunity to invest our time and money in ways that will help to multiply the kingdom.

Don't be discouraged by the delay.

2 Peter 3: 8,10,14 But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight.
Think about how surprised the people outside of the ark were when water started pouring down from the sky, they thought that they could go on ignoring God but the day of judgment came and caught them off guard. Nobody expects a thief to break-in, we take safeguards against, we prepare our homes because we know that it will be a big surprise when he comes in.

Jesus is on the way, don't worry about the delay, the delay gives more people the opportunity to prepare for his coming.

I want to be ready constantly, Lord help me to be found faithful to the end.