Awaiting His Coming
Mark 13:32 ¶ “But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
Mark 13:33 Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come.
Mark 13:34 It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch.
Mark 13:35 Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn,
Mark 13:36 or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly.
Mark 13:37 And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.”
Discussion surrounding the return of Christ was common in the early church. Jesus was letting his followers know that they would be left in charge of the kingdom. The word “slave” is the same word that Paul uses over and over to describe his relationship to Jesus Christ — he is a servant/slave to Jesus Christ in a very positive and passionate sense. Paul’s desire was to be completely sold out, belonging to Jesus Christ. This is our role as well, to be the ones who belong entirely to Jesus Christ and ire left in charge.
It is this idea of being left in charge that is particularly important in the lift of a Christ-follower. There is great responsibility and we are to be caring for the kingdom work, day in and day out. This is not a part-time job or something we do as a volunteer on the weekends. This is a full-time job, serving the Lord and keeping watch. We are to care well for the kingdom while he is gone for we never know when he will come.
Many people try to figure out when he will return but he says that no one knows — only the Father. So, who are we to try and figure that out? Instead, we are to be busy while we await his coming, keeping awake and caring for his house.
Throughout the centuries people have been awaiting the return of Jesus Christ. Surely he would come during the early persecutions when Nero was burning Christians as torches in his gardens! Or what about the Christians who were martyred in brutal public fashion — couldn’t Jesus have come then? Christianity has had its ups and downs and there have always been those who have been faithfully standing guard — couldn’t Jesus have come then? What about the great leaders throughout the centuries, — Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Wesley, Palmer — couldn’t those seasons of tumult within Christianity been times when Christ would have returned? And yet we continue to await his coming. Instead of being preoccupied with knowing the date of his coming, we must join with those who have gone before and become the faithful servants who are busy working and caring well for the kingdom. This is our responsibility, not worrying about the day or the time. Preoccupation with the date or time means we will not be busy with kingdom work when he returns — spiritually asleep. Remaining awake is a place of engagement within kingdom life.
Sometime surprising things happens when we remain engaged in kingdom life and await his return — suddenly we discover his coming. We see him in the beautiful rays of the morning. We hear him in the worship song playing from our mp3. He speaks to us through the card we receive from a friend in the mail and he is in the hug that we receive on the day in which we are feeling battered and beaten by life. Maybe his coming is not that distant!
We await his coming with great anticipation and we are blessed by the glimpses of the already/not yet kingdom in which we are actively engaged and joyfully working as his slaves.
Lord, thank you for your coming and help me to await and work faithfully. Amen.