Part 3 of 3
Jesus’ teaching on deception, persecution, and tribulation found in the Olivet Discourse culminate and point to one specific moment:
“At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.”-Mark 13:26-27.
Jesus’ teaching on the end of days is not intended to encourage us to set dates, or to try and identify the anti-Christ, or decipher the meaning of the blood moons; but instead he instructs us to be on guard and remain alert for what is coming:
“No one knows about the day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.”-Mark 13:32-33.
By declaring that no one knows the day or the hour of his return, it is clear that Jesus never intended for us to focus on his return as an event to be diagramed, studied, and forecast. The assurance from Jesus of his return is to guide us toward living a life that honors God so that when he returns we will be found ready:
“It’s like a man going away; He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back-whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: Watch!”-Mark 13:34-37.
The Gospel of Matthew drives home this point with three amazing parables: Parable of the Virgins, The Parable of the Talents, and the Parable of the Sheep and Goat.
The Parable of the Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13) encourages us to evaluate our own spiritual condition in light of his coming. In the parable, ten virgins went out to meet the bridegroom. Five were unprepared and had failed to fill their lamps with oil. Five were wise and took oil with them so that they would be prepared in case the bridegroom was a long time in coming. When the cry rang out that bridegroom was coming the five foolish virgins were forced to leave and go buy oil because their lamps were going out. Because they were unprepared they were shut out of the wedding banquet. It is a dangerous thing to believe that you can wait until the last minute to begin living for Christ. He will come when you least expect it and you will find yourselves shut out of the kingdom because you were not prepared for his coming.
The Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30) teaches us how to invest our lives in light of his coming. This passage describes how the Lord will reward those who are good stewards of the faith, gifts, and talents that God has given each of us to use for His glory.
The Parable of the Sheep and Goat (Matthew 25:31-46) teaches us how to invest in others in light of his coming:
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
Jesus declared that whatever you do for the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me. Jesus teachings on the Mount of Olives are designed to condition us to live for God, reject sin, embrace holiness, and to do the work of God until he comes to receive his church.
Are you ready?
Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church