By Brooke Holt
“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” Matthew 24:36-39
What is the day of the Lord and how will you know what to expect and when to expect it? People have been pondering these great questions for thousands of years, ever since the ascension of Jesus Christ. Throughout the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew, Jesus has been teaching his disciples about what is to come: the destruction of the temple, signs of the end of the age, the abomination of the desolation, and now the mystery of the day and hour. These teachings of Jesus certainly were not easy for the disciples to understand, just as they are not easy for us today.
Jesus left much mystery in his teaching. In fact, he said he did not even know the day of his return. Only the Father knew the day and the hour. What Jesus did tell is that many would come in his name seeking to lead God’s people astray and that people would be caught off guard. To illustrate that point, Jesus used the example of Noah. For many years, Noah believed God’s warning of the coming flood. He faithfully and dutifully built the ark while others were out enjoying life: “eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage” at least until the rain started and didn’t seem to stop. All that merriment was quickly washed away as were those enjoying it.
The warning of Jesus is that his return will be much like those days of Noah and the flood. A faithful remnant will be focused on the kingdom of God while many others will be focused on their enjoyment of life. These people are the ones who are so consumed with the world that they don’t have time for or interest in the things of God. As in the days of Noah, their merriment will come to an end. With the coming of Jesus, those who did not have the time for or interest in Jesus and his kingdom will face judgment. Just as those enjoying the merriment of Noah’s days were washed away by the floods, so the merriment of the worldly people of today will be.
Jesus warns his listeners and all who would read his Word that though the day and hour are unknown, the day is coming. It is time to be focused on the kingdom of God. It is time to be awake and aware. That is the focus of the season of Advent; it is the time of awakening to God, to his Son, and to the convictions and guidance of his Holy Spirit.
Are you awake and alert to the things of the Lord? Are you preparing for the last day or lost in the merriment of this world? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Christmas is the festival of rejoicing at Christ’s first coming—the beautiful, unlikely start of our salvation! As the season ends each year, we pack up the decorations. Advent, on the other hand, is a bigger celebration—one we can’t box up and store in the attic. It celebrates the grace of Christ’s first coming, and then it reaches with restless anticipation for the fuller grace of his second appearing and the completion of our salvation! For 28 days, celebrate Advent. In Prepare the Way, join with St. Paul, King David the Psalmist, Zechariah, Gabriel, Mary, Elizabeth, and John the Baptist, along with the crowds as they rejoiced in the good news of Christmas, and then look beyond it for the holiday that never ends!
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