Lord, we are fully awake.
Read Mark 13:28–37
28 “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 29 Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it[a] is near, right at the door. 30 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
The Day and Hour Unknown
32 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Be on guard! Be alert[b]! You do not know when that time will come. 34 It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.
35 “Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. 36 If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. 37 What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’”
a Mark 13:29 Or he
b Mark 13:33 Some manuscripts alert and pray
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Yea, Amen! Let all adore thee, / high on thine eternal throne; / Savior, take the power and glory, / claim the kingdom for thine own. / O come quickly … / Alleluia! Come, Lord, come!”(Charles Wesley, 1758, “Lo! He Comes With Clouds Descending”).
As Jesus looks beyond the looming cross to the end of the age, He leaves His disciples – and us – with a certainty: He will come again in power and glory (26). The question of when, however, He covers with uncertainty. Three times Jesus states that we will not know the time of His return (32–35). And three times He exhorts us to keep watch (33–37). This mystery over the timing of His return, we can be sure, is not petty but purposeful: “We are to see the very uncertainty as to the date as a strong stimulant to ceaseless watchfulness” (Cole, 1995, p282). Indeed, we should be as watchful for Christ’s return as was the early church.
What does that mean for us, as part of the church that has been waiting 2,000 years for Christ’s return? It means to fully believe that He will come again – despite the wide gap between promise and fulfillment. It means to anticipate His return, looking forward with great joy to when that solemn promise gets fulfilled. It means to be
living holy lives – ready at any moment to meet with our Lord and Savior who redeemed us by his blood (2 Pet 3:11, 12). It means to be praying fervently for those who do not yet know Jesus – that salvation may come while Christ tarries (2 Pet 3:9). It means to be guided by the hope that the best is yet to come, when Christ completes the establishment of His kingdom. For, in the ancient words of the Nicene Creed, “He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and His kingdom will have no end”.
Meditate on the glory of Christ’s promised return; pray for increased joy and expectancy; and consider how this future hope can impact your present life.
Lord, Your church awaits Your arrival with great expectation, knowing that You have fulfilled yet another promise.
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