Tuesday, October 9, 2018

The Return of Jesus Christ

Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning” (Luke 12:35).

Today we return to the gospel of Luke. Recall from our study on July 23 that Jesus told His disciples not to worry about the future, because the God of providence would take care of them. This leads our Lord to a discussion of His second coming.

Jesus tells His disciples to be “dressed in readiness.” What does this mean? In the ancient world, the servants in a wealthy man’s house would wear long flowing robes, which were not well suited for heavy work or for rapid movement. If a person wanted to ready himself for action, he would put a belt around that robe and tuck it up so his knees would be ready for quick movements. Jesus also says to keep our lamps burning. This is a call to vigilance—to be on the alert.

Jesus adds to this a parable. His return is like a master who goes on a trip to a wedding banquet and leaves his servants behind. The servants need to watch for his return. “It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night” (Luke 12:38). Notice Jesus’ warning. People are enthusiastic and expectant when they are looking for something to happen. But if the event they await is postponed, their enthusiasm wanes and they may begin to think the event will never take place. Just so, Jesus warns them that His return may be a long time off, but they are not to stop being vigilant on that account.

We don’t know the day or the hour when Jesus will return, but we can be absolutely sure about two things. One, it is certain that He is coming; and two, it is certain that His coming is closer today than it was yesterday. It is not wise to speculate when Jesus will return. But whether He comes in our lifetime or not, it does not change the fact that we are to be awake, alert and actively involved in fulfilling the duties the Master has left for us.

In the last couple of years, no small amount of publicity has surrounded precise predictions of the Lord’s return and the subsequent alterations and excuses when the day and hour had passed. From this study, how should you judge such predictions, regardless of their sincerity?