Signs and Parables of the end
No-one except God the Father knows when Jesus will return, the judgement occurs and then eternity on the new heaven and the new earth. Our priorities are to endure, v 13, interpret the signs in a balanced and wise way, v 28-33, and be watchful so that we are not found idle or abusing our privileges when it happens, v 44-51.
There are five parables of the second coming, three in today’s passage.
The nocturnal thief, v 42-44
Builds on the note “Keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come” (New International Version). We must be watchful – not like astronomers with a telescope or security guards watching CCTV, but like lovers who can’t wait for another glimpse of their beloved. God can guide the expectant.
The foolish servant, v 45-52
The master delays his return but looks for servants who will act in the same way when he is present as when he is away. The servant doesn’t know why the master is delayed and begins to misbehave, which is a disaster. Holiness is called for – without it we will be outside with the hypocrites. Can your friends and family tell that the grace of God is in you?
Ten virgins, 25:1-13
Jewish weddings went on a long time, a week or more. There’s no set time for the bridegroom to come to the bride’s house for the feast. The virgins wait to escort him in. Once he arrives the door is locked and there is no further access. So in the parable Jesus is the bridegroom. He will come one day, we don’t know when, to take his bride (the church) and celebrate the marriage supper. Jesus is hoping for good things of the Church!
There are three surprises here:
- The girls all looked the same but were not. Half were ready and half weren’t. The second half missed out. It is easy to be in the church in Christian company and yet be a stranger to the Lord and the Spirit. It’s possible to have a lamp that looks good, but has no oil in it. Jesus would say ‘I never knew you’ – that is a surprise to churchgoers in Matthew’s day and in ours.
- There are some things you just cannot borrow. You have to have them for yourself and not rely on others. Faith is one of them.
- There are times when it is too late. The job has been lost, the divorce has come through, the exam is today and you haven’t revised. Be ready!
Be ready for Jesus to return. Trust Jesus for your forgiveness and His leadership.
Be watchful and close to God.