If you’ve been looking forward to Matthew chapters 24-25 expecting a deep study on the return of Jesus Christ, I’m sorry to disappoint you. I have some beliefs on the Second Coming and what’s going to happen prior to that, but in this devotional I’m going to mostly stick to what every Christian ought to believe instead of focusing on disputable timetables and points of debate among Bible-believing Evangelicals. I firmly agree with Alistair Begg that “The main things are the plain things and the plain things are the main things.” I guess I’m a practical theologian, so if your views about eschatology (the last things) don't affect your daily walk with Christ, then they don’t mean a whole lot.
Our Lord is pretty practical as well when it comes to the issue of his return. We very rarely find him dwelling on this without adding a warning to “watch.” What does this mean? What does it mean to be prepared for his return? I’ve heard some people claim that if the end of the world is near (like during the Y2K scare) we should stock up on guns, food, and ammo. That, however, is a far cry from what Jesus talks about here.
It seems to me that there are two main points in this passage, and if you get them right, everything else is just a side-issue. The first thing to keep in mind is that you won’t see him coming, and neither will the world. While Noah was building the ark, the people around him were living their lives: eating, drinking, getting married, etc. What’s really interesting to me is the word picture he draws of separation. Believers and nonbelievers live and work together all the time, and they intermingle on a daily basis. But this will not always be so: Husbands will be separated from wives, parents from children, brothers from sisters, and even preachers from listeners.
So if we aren’t going to see it coming, then how can we “watch” for him? In the same way that a soldier on guard duty is on watch. He doesn’t know when the enemy will approach, nor does he get advance notice of when his commander will swing by for a surprise inspection of his post. So this leads me to the second main point that Jesus is trying to make. To paraphrase him, "When I return, let me catch you doing what you’re supposed to be doing. Whether I come tomorrow or a thousand years from now should make no difference in your obedience."
Lord Jesus, I want that to be me. I hope and pray that your return will be a source of joy--not fear—for me.