“No one knows about that 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. 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 13:32-37
In the 2nd Century a self-proclaimed prophet by the name of Montanus taught that the end of the world was close at hand. In 1499 a German mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, and professor claimed that a deluge would bring about the end in 1524. In the early 19th century a 60-year-old woman by the name of Joanna Southcott claimed that she was pregnant with the next Christ and would give birth to him on Christmas of 1814. She claimed the second coming would follow soon after. More recently, there have been end-of-the-world predictions tied to the Hale-Bopp comet, Y2K, and May 21, 2011. Many people worry about the end of the world next month because they believe the Mayan calendar runs out of more days.
Could it be that with all of these false and failed prophecies we might wonder if the end is really coming? The first disciples had their own reasons for wondering, but Jesus clearly proclaimed the truth to them. The end will come; the Lord will return. The fact that we don’t know exactly when doesn’t make it any less certain.
So what should we do? Instead of wondering and worrying about the day and the hour, Jesus tells us to keep watch. We keep watch by fixing our eyes on Jesus, by repenting of our sins, and finding forgiveness in his precious sacrifice on the cross. We can be like the servants who are ready for their master to return at all times by clinging to God’s Word and promise. We can be ready by faithfully carrying out the tasks that God has given us and joyfully looking forward to our Lord’s return, because he has promised to take us and all believers to be with him forever.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, we do not know the day or the hour of your return. Give us faith that is fixed on you as our Savior and make us always ready for your coming. Help us to live each day with the confidence of your love and mercy and to faithfully go about our daily tasks as we joyfully await your return. Amen.