When Jesus describes the end times, he implores those who will listen to be ready for his return and to be found faithful serving him at the time of his return. Be ready and be faithful. In this post, we will discuss how and why we should be ready.
Jesus’ return is imminent. When Jesus died on the cross for our sin and then rose from the dead, he provided the way for anyone who would trust in him to be saved from their sin and to be guaranteed eternal life with Jesus. After his resurrection he walked the earth for forty days before ascending into heaven where now he patiently waits for the time of his return. He patiently waits in order for more people to be saved (2 Peter 3:9). His return could be at any moment so you must be ready. Just like the buds on a tree indicate the seasons are changing, in the same way the signs that Jesus describes in Matthew chapter 24 indicate that his return is near.
Jesus says, “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: As soon as its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near — at the door! I assure you: This generation will certainly not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away.” Matthew 24:32-35
No one knows the exact day or hour of Jesus’ return. Oh, people have tried to predict when he would return. They have looked at particular world events, developed scenarios and made predictions. When their predictions have proven to be false, they have revised their timelines and made new predictions. Such efforts are futile. When he walked the earth, Jesus had chosen to limit some of his divine powers for that period of time, so during those years on earth not even he knew the exact moment when he would be returning. Rather than trying to predict the day and hour, why not spend your time getting ready for his return?
Jesus says, “Now concerning that day and hour no one knows — neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son — except the Father only.” Matthew 24:36
The last days will be like the days of Noah. In the days of Noah, wickedness was widespread. Even as Noah built a huge boat and warned people of the judgment to come through he flood, people ignored him. They went on with their daily lives, with wedding celebrations and other festivities, oblivious to what Noah was saying and doing. Noah was building a boat to save his family and the animals of the earth. His faith was in God. He was ready for the floodwaters to come.
“As the days of Noah were, so the coming of the Son of Man will be. For in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah boarded the ark. They didn’t know until the flood came and swept them all away. So this is the way the coming of the Son of Man will be:” Matthew 24:37-39
Not everyone will be ready for his return. Tragically, when Jesus returns not everyone will be ready. Some will be taken to eternal judgment. In an instant their eternity will be sealed. Those who are ready for his return — those who have received forgiveness of their sin by trusting in Jesus as Savior and Lord — will find Jesus as their glorious returning King. Those who have not trusted in Jesus will not be ready.
“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 be alert, since you don’t know what day your Lord is coming.” Matthew 24:40-42
We must be ready and stay alert. God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). Be ready for his return. And keep your mind aware of spiritual things and the signs of the end times. Such focus will cause you to be concerned about the eternal destiny of others, sharing with them how they too can experience eternal life with Jesus. No one knows when Jesus will return. Be ready at any moment. Be ready.
“But know this: If the homeowner had known what time the thief was coming, he would have stayed alert and not let his house be broken into. This is why you also must be ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” Matthew 24:43-44