Read Matthew 24:42-51
The other day, referencing a place which will remain unnamed, I said that I wouldn’t want my worst enemy to go there. Obviously, this place is temporal and just holds a negative place in my heart based on my own opinion. But days later, the Spirit pricked my heart. It was as if the Holy Spirit was asking me if I felt that same intensity about those who are headed to hell, a place of eternal separation from God.
In today’s passage, Jesus emphasizes the importance of being alert, prepared and ready for His return and the consequences if we are not. He tells us three things concerning His eminent return.
First, Jesus makes it very clear that His return will be unexpected. Have you ever been burglarized? I haven’t, but family members had their car broken into while visiting us. The following morning, we realized what had occurred in our own driveway while we were sound asleep. Of course, if we had known a thief was coming, we would have been much more prepared! Instead, we climbed into our cozy beds and slept through the entire ordeal.
Jesus compares His coming to this scenario and warns us to be ready for we do not know the day or the hour He will return.
Secondly, Jesus tells us to be alert. What does it look like to be a vigilant servant? At the beginning of Matthew 24, Jesus describes how we should not only be knowledgeable, but also attentively keeping our heart’s radar tuned in. In verses 37-39, Jesus refers to the time of Noah. Prior to the flood, life continued as usual. Despite the unusual sign of an enormous ark in their neighborhood, the people ignored the warning and did not understand until the flood came. Jesus says, “So shall the coming of the Son of Man be.” (verse 39)
Know the signs. Stay alert.
Last, but not least, Jesus holds us accountable for our faithfulness. We are blessed if at Jesus’ return He finds us carrying out our responsibilities as His servants. Jesus describes a faithful servant as one who provides food for others at the proper time. Are we to care for the physical needs of the poor and hungry? Yes, but even unbelievers do that. So, what makes the faithful servant stand out from others? As Jesus often did, He used earthly symbols to point us to a heavenly meaning. Perhaps the word “food” implies spiritual sustenance. We see this clearly in John 4:32 when the disciples were urging Jesus to eat. But He said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” Jesus said this on the heels of sharing the gospel with the woman at the well. Jesus, who came to serve, provided a wonderful example for us to follow. We are to be watchful, seeking the proper time to give spiritual food to others. This requires us to share the gospel with unbelievers as well as giving a timely word from His Word to fellow believers. (Proverbs 15:23)
Let’s be found faithful. As John says, abide in Him so that when He appears we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame (1 John 2:28). Are we continually “feeding” others? Are we looking for opportunities to share the gospel with those who are spiritually hungry? Jesus is coming soon and those who do not know Him will go to a place where we wouldn’t want even our worst enemies to go. We must remain faithful by feeding others the Bread of Life.