MARK 13:32-37 – “But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning— lest he come suddenly and find you asleep.
THEME OF THE DAY. LIVING FOR CHRIST’S RETURN. In today’s scripture, we find the Lord Jesus sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple teaching His disciples. As we enter into the scene and listen to the Master, we get the feel of seriousness from Him. It is seriousness bathed in urgency. Throughout this entire chapter, the Lord challenges, even commands, His disciples to be watchful, spiritually alert, and on guard for His return. In total, either explicitly or implicitly, the Lord refers to this diligent posture at least six times. He is serious about them and us living in light of His unknown return.
So, in obeying His commands to be watchful, on guard, and staying spiritually awake for His return, how do we do that on a daily basis? Consider with me three things under the call to live aware of our Lord’s unannounced Second Coming.
First, live aware of the brevity of life – Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that” (James 4:13-15). Friends, we are going to live forever, but it isn’t in this world. One of the most dangerous and foolish things Christians may do is to allow the sin of procrastination to get a stronghold in their lives. Ask the Lord to help us not be deceived and put off known obedience to Him to a not promised tomorrow. We don’t know how long we have, but we do know we have now, today.
Next, live aware that today could actually be our last day on earth. That isn’t morbid thinking, but wise thinking. And should we allow this awareness to shape our lives, we will be able to confidently say these words of the Apostle Paul as our own – “As it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:20-21). Imagine how our parenting, our marriages, our workplace relationships, our priorities, our use of time, money, and energy might need to change if today was it; today was our last day on earth.
A third thing to do in properly preparing for the Lord’s sudden coming is live aware that the pleasures, attractions, and attachments of this world are passing away quickly – Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever (1 John 2:15-17). This is not our home. Don’t get so attached to this world we lose sight of the next. That is how backsliding begins. Start giving more of ourselves to the pleasures of this world instead of the priorities of the next world, and we will not be prepared when Jesus comes. And this is a daily fight not to get entangled in worldliness.
Jesus is serious about us living in light of His return. Heed His warnings. Stay awake and be on guard. Live daily with one eye on the sky and one in the world. Someday we are going to be face-to-face with Him. That someday might be today. Live with this awareness. It will make our Christianity Biblical, not cultural.
PRAYER: “Father, help me to be on spiritual guard; never allowing a day to pass without watching for Your Son.”
QUOTE: “We know not when our last breath will be and we come face-to-face with Jesus. Live daily prepared for it.”