About THAT…

In Lent 24 by Bruce LogueLeave a Comment

“About that day and hour no one know, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man….Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”

Matthew 24:36

I picture Jesus and his disciples like a group of tourists. The disciples, especially, were oohing and aahing over the Temple. It was regarded as an important and holy place by the Jews who were always bustling, making sacrifices, giving donations, or just absorbing the scale and beauty of it.

The disciples were commenting on its beauty. But Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, not one stone will be left here on another; all will be thrown down.” Matthew 24:2. This, of course, prompted questions. “When will this be?” Many people then and today want to know the same thing.

To the church in Thessalonica, Paul wrote, “Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.” 1 Thessalonians 5:1-2. People were talking about it and still do.

Jesus uses this curiosity of the disciples to make a very important point. “Don’t try to figure it out; I don’t even know.” Nevertheless, seminars, sermons, and books are devoted to that question. Jesus said it is a pointless question.

Instead, Jesus said, “Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.” Matthew 24:44. After the ascension of Jesus the disciples went back to living a prepared life. Historical tradition marks the travels of the apostles, clearly taking Jesus’ instruction to not dwell on when and only live in a prepared way. Here are a few examples:

  • Thaddaeus is revered as apostle to the Armenians.
  • Peter, first went to Antioch and then to Rome, where he died.
  • Andrew preached to Greek communities and is buried in Patras, Greece.
  • James was the first apostle to be martyred after the death of Jesus.
  • Thomas went to India.
  • Matthew was martyred in Ethiopia.
  • Simon and Thaddaeus were thought to have been martyred in Beirut.
  • Matthias is thought to have established a church in Cappadocia.

Jesus basically said that speculating about the time of his return is a waste of time. No one knows that. What is important, to Jesus, is that we spend our lives living in a way that is always prepared for Jesus’ return.

Something to think about: How does dwelling on the time of Jesus’ return keep us distracted from what our true focus should be?

Something to pray about: O Lord, it is so tempting to wonder about your return. But you told us to not dwell on that. Please help us to live in a way that honors you and contributes to the reign of God in our lives. In Jesus’ name I pray this. Amen.

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