36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,[f] but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46 It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 47 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48 But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ 49 and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. 50 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. 51 He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
If we are a disciple of Jesus, we are to keep watch. We are to be vigilant. We are to be alert. It is the mark of a false disciple that they have no staying power. The alert disciple gets into a mode of thinking of Jesus and working for Jesus so that they are delighted at his return. The false disciple thinks of Jesus once in a while but has little or no motivation. The false disciple withdraws, satisfies self, wastes resources on pointless partying. The mind that is full of Jesus attunes all of their time and resources to what God wants. This is less and less burdensome as our worldview changes. When we are far from God, our will pulls our attention away from loving God and serving others. As our mind becomes the mind of Jesus, all of our time and resources serve the greater good more and more.
Someone who is moving toward Jesus hopes for his return. Someone who isn’t thinking about Jesus is going to be caught out. To keep watch, then, is not to sit idle staring at the sky. To keep watch is to be mindful of Jesus all the time. To hope that today might be the day, but to prepare for his return every day.
Say you had a loved one in the secret service who was deployed to Iraq. Does the faithful spouse lose enthusiasm over time? Doesn’t he or she keep the house in order every day and run the house well in their absence? When they clean the house each day, wouldn’t they think with longing, “My spouse would like this.” Do they remove the picture of the spouse from the mantle? Do they send the children to a boarding school and spend the family funds on binge drinking? When the spouse returns they will find a well-kept house and a lover who was waiting for their return. This is what Matthew 24 teaches us about the attitude of the disciple. Their mind is so full of Christ every day that they are not caught out by is sudden return.
- Who knows the day and the hour?
- How is a servant to be faithful and wise?
- How does a random return affect the false disciples of Jesus?
- Why do many people want Jesus to hold off on his coming?
- How can you cultivate an excited expectation that wakes each morning and says, “Maybe today is the day?”