You will need paper, pencil and a clock.
Jesus said that we would not know the time and date of his coming, but we must be prepared. Write down the current year, month, date and time to the nearest minute.
Look at the minute time. If Jesus looked at what you are doing this minute, would he be pleased? Presumably, yes, because you’re studying his word, so that’s good. Draw a happy face above the minute.
Now look at the hour time and review what you have been doing and thinking since that hour began. Does all that look OK as well? Again, I’d guess for most of us we’d feel reasonably happy for Jesus to see what we’ve been doing in the last hour. Draw another happy face for the hour.
How about looking at the date? Has your day so far been spent in a way that you’d be comfortable for Jesus to see? I’m not sure about my day – there are always bits that could have gone better. It gets a bit harder from this point – real life kicks in a bit more. Draw whatever face you think is right for the day so far.
Now we look at the month. Would it have been OK for Jesus to come back at any time this month? Are there any bits you’d rather he’d not turned up to see? I guess we’d all have to admit there are. Perhaps the face for the month is a bit mixed.
And now the year. Unless you are reading this just after midnight on Jan 1st there will be parts of your year so far that you know would not stand up to much scrutiny. Yep, mine too. Draw the face for the year, whatever that is.
Let’s invite God into those parts of our lives that we’re not proud of, the bits we’d rather forget, and ask for his forgiveness and help to live right until we meet him – whenever that may be.
‘The End of The World is Nigh!’– placard in hand and ‘I told you so’ expression on face – it’s the way the world laughs at the Christian buffoon. God love ‘em (and he does), don’t they read their Bibles?
In our reading, Jesus’s disciples wanted to know when it was all going to end, but Jesus wasn’t into giving times and dates. In fact he put it quite bluntly in Matthew’s account: But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. (Matt 24:36) So one thing we know for sure about when Jesus will return – if someone tells you they know when it is, they are wrong.
We’ve all had a giggle at the various predictions of impending doom and annihilation (just after tea time, next Thursday). I had a quick peek at Wikipedia and found more than 50 dates on which the world was supposed to have ended, and a dozen more for the future. Most are from well-meaning but misguided folks reading rather too much into scripture, and they’re not all nutters, either. There are some big names: Martin of Tours (world ends by 400), Pope Sylvester II (Jesus returns in 1000), Martin Luther (1600), Christopher Columbus (1656), plus mathematicians and scientists such as Napier (1688), Bernoulli (1719) and Sir Isaac Newton who was bitten by the millennium bug (2000). Even John Wesley had a punt at 1836.
There are some nutters too – In 1806, a chicken started laying eggs with “Christ is coming” etched into the shell. Now, the burning bush was weird, granted, and you’ve got Balaam’s donkey and all, but why God would want to make a major announcement via a hen’s bum beats me.
Turns out to have been a hoax. (You don’t say!) The chicken’s owner apparently wrote the messages in a mild acid and then shoved the eggs – ahem – back up where the sun don’t shine. Seriously? Some people have too much spare time. (And should not be allowed to keep chickens).
But all of this is a side show. What Jesus is saying in this passage is that the exact date and time really are not important, so we should not be wasting our energy trying to figure it out. We should not be spending our time scouring the news for signs of Jesus’ imminent return. Instead we should be concentrating on living right – right now. All we know is that Jesus will return, and in the meantime, let’s make sure we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing.
In the film ‘Johnny English’, The Archbishop of Canterbury has (somewhat inexplicably) the words ‘Jesus is coming, look busy’ tattooed across his rump. I understand that this is not a requirement of the post.
If Jesus came back today, would I need to ‘look busy’?
Thank you for your exciting promise that Jesus will come back in glory and power.
Help us not to focus our energy on looking for signs of exactly when, but to make sure that we will be ready, whether that be today, tomorrow or in a thousand years.
Help us to live each day as if it were the day of your return. Please forgive us when we forget and help us to keep our minds always focussed on your kingdom.
As he was leaving the Temple that day, one of his disciples said, “Teacher, what beautiful buildings these are! Look at the decorated stonework on the walls.”
Jesus replied, “Yes, look! For not one stone will be left upon another, except as ruins.”
And as he sat on the slopes of the Mount of Olives across the valley from Jerusalem, Peter, James, John, and Andrew got alone with him and asked him, “Just when is all this going to happen to the Temple? Will there be some warning ahead of time?”
So Jesus launched into an extended reply. “Don’t let anyone mislead you,” he said, “for many will come declaring themselves to be your Messiah and will lead many astray. And wars will break out near and far, but this is not the signal of the end-time.
“For nations and kingdoms will proclaim war against each other, and there will be earthquakes in many lands, and famines. These herald only the early stages of the anguish ahead.
Living Bible The Living Bible copyright © 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.