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Stay Awake

24 May

Stay Awake… Keep Serving Faithfully

Stay awake!” These are Jesus’ words to us today. He tells us that we do not know the day or the time when the Lord will come to us. Thus, each and every moment we must be awake and watchful.

Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. Matthew 24:42-44

Jesus now arrives at His main point about His return as judge and king. It will come unexpectedly, as the flood did in Noah’s day. Before being swept away, the people then were just going about their daily lives as if nothing would ever change. Then they were gone. In that same way, Christ’s return will be unexpected. The signs will be clear, but only when they occur, at which point it will be too late to react.

Pointedly, Christ made it clear that no person can claim to know the time of His return. Absolutely every prediction that gives a date of the second coming is based on false premises.

That leaves only one option for those who want to be ready: His followers must “stay awake” all the time. Of course, Jesus is not speaking literally, suggesting one should avoid actual sleep. Instead, He is telling them to live in a state of awareness.

Believers should never lapse into the false notion that what happens in this life, from day to day, is all that will ever happen. Wakeful believers remember that this life is temporary, and the next life is eternal. The next life can begin without warning.

In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. Daniel 7:13-14


Far too many people live only for today or for the days before this life ends. They put off dealing with the reality of God’s judgment and eternity as if they are sleeping through the alarm. The opportunity to trust in Christ for salvation is limited to the length of one’s life before death as in Hebrews 9:27, or the return of Christ in Revelation 19. In either case, the time is short. By the time a person knows their moment has come, their choice has already been made.

This may sound impossible to do. However, I think of parents who have young children; I assume their radar is always attuned to where their children are and what they are doing. It becomes second nature. I assume that each one us of us also have our radar attuned to the individuals in our lives who are significant to us.

Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. Matthew 24:45-47

Today Jesus desires that we also have our radar scanning for His coming and His presence. The reality is we do not know when, how or through whom Jesus may come to us or be present to us.

However, staying awake and alert every moment is not easy. Perhaps though, we can enhance our radar system to be more closely attuned to Jesus’ vibes, to His presence with us.

But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 24:48-51

Jesus concludes this parable by describing what the abruptly returning master will do to the wicked servant who betrayed his trust and abused his household. Having been away some time, the master will return and find that the servant has been beating the other servants instead of caring for them and has been carousing with local troublemakers.

The consequences for that servant will be severe: the master will cut him to pieces. This seems like a graphic choice, which is very much the point of Jesus’ parable. This is possibly the harshest punishment any master could execute on a slave under his control. Jesus describes no second chances or demotions at this point, only painful retribution and horror as found in Mark 9:47–48.

The parable ends with Jesus blending the story with the reality it is meant to represent. The Master—God—will both cut the abusive servant into pieces and put him with the hypocrites in a place of misery and suffering. This uses the common description for the place of eternal torment, also referred to as hell.

The disciples would have clearly understood who Jesus meant when He mentioned hypocrites. This English term comes from the Greek word hypocrites, literally referring to “an actor.” On stage, these are people who pretend to be what they are not. In life, they are those whose words and public actions cover their inner, private spiritual bankruptcy. In blistering terms, Jesus called the scribes and Pharisees hypocrites repeatedly and directly in Matthew 23.

The servant of this parable has revealed that his faith was not in that master, at all. His actions prove as much. He represents all those who claim to belong to Jesus but in truth serve themselves. Their faith in Christ is play-acting “hypocrisy” at best, and they will be sent away from Christ into torment at the time of judgment.

If we truly desire to be attentive to Jesus’ presence throughout our day, we can train ourselves to do so just as first-time parents attune themselves to the presence of a new baby. Today, attune the ear of your heart to Jesus’ presence with you! Jesus will not disappoint you!

Walk daily with God at your side!

Love always,

Ed

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