Devotion for November 14-16, 2017

Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour. Matthew 25:13

While in our day and culture we are looking forward to beginning the “Holiday Season,” starting with Thanksgiving continuing with Christmas and finishing with New Year’s Eve and Day, in the Church we are celebrating the end of our year now. You might not be aware of it, but the beginning of the Church Year starts four Sundays before Christmas with the season of Advent. However, before the new year starts, the old year comes to a close, and with the ending of the old, we are reminded that there will be an and to this world as well. That end will come with the return of our Lord Jesus.

Now, to be clear, just what that will look like we don’t know. We know there will be challenges for the Church. She will be persecuted. She will be under duress to give up her confession. The world and the Evil One will make every effort to squash her testimony to the truth of the Savior Jesus Christ, the One crucified for the sins of the world, raised for her redemption. That being said, there is a lot we don’t know too. Most importantly, we don’t know when this will happen. As Jesus said, “you know neither the day nor the hour.

As I say that, how many times have you heard people predicting the end? You might see it on TV or in the headlines that someone has “foreseen” that the end will happen on this day or at that time. If you notice, so far those predictions have had a 0% success rate. Of course, to mitigate that, after the day comes and goes, the calculation is revealed to have been related to a portion of the end, but not its fulfillment; or to have occurred properly but only been the initiation of the events leading up to the end. All of this is because we don’t know. Jesus said we don’t know and that means that we can’t predict it.

So, what should we do? Well, the answer is in the parable where Jesus spoke those words from the Gospel of Matthew: the Parable of the Ten Virgins. In that parable, Jesus describes ten young ladies who would have been awaiting the arrival of the Bridegroom to his wedding. The role of these lovely bridesmaids was to welcome the Bridegroom and then to begin the feast by walking with him and announcing his coming. At night, this announcement would have been accompanied by the lights of lamps. However, Jesus tells us that only half of the virgins brought extra oil in case the Bridegroom came later than expected. This meant only half of the virgins were prepared for his coming. The other half looked like fools with no oil in their lamp.

So, what does this mean? Does this mean we should stockpile oil? No, it means that we should always be ready for the return of Jesus. It means that it could take a lot longer than we think. It means that it could also come a lot sooner than we think. It means that we should not prepare for the coming in such a fashion that we escape from the world and hide in a wilderness unto ourselves. Rather, we should do our duties faithfully in the world. However, it also means that we must not allow ourselves to be taken up by the concerns of the world; comforts, pleasures, sin. Instead, we should always hold onto hope in the coming Kingdom. In other words, we should always live in repentance and hope in Jesus, the One who died for our sins, rising again that we would live eternally with him.

Prayer: Blessed Lord, we know not the day nor the hour of your return. Keep our hearts ever hopeful for your coming, that repentant of our sin, we may be prepared for the salvation you will bring at your coming again. Amen.