From the point when Jesus started His ministry to where we are now in the story, it has been over two and a half years. He and His disciples have journeyed throughout the towns and villages and cities of Israel, proclaiming the Truth of God’s Kingdom and demonstrating the power of the Most High God through breathtaking miracles and heart-rending acts of compassion. As Jesus went around preaching about the Kingdom of Heaven, it was obvious that He was the Messiah for anyone who had ears to hear or eyes to see. All of the evidence was there. The only proper response was repentance and joy: the long awaited King had come!
But as we read, we can see the heartbreaking truth. God’s people did not repent. There was a small, faithful remnant of followers that were devoted to Jesus, but the bright, blazing hope of a transformed nation and a people eager to devote themselves to the plans of their Almighty God were not to be found.
And so Jesus began to give dire warnings. Though they were stern, they were warnings of compassion. They were the kind of warnings given by a father showing his love for his child who is in the process of destroying themselves and refuses to listen to softer words of kindness and concern.
Did the people think there was more than one choice…that they could reject the plan of God with no consequences? This was the great deception of Satan, the same lie that he told Adam and Eve. What Adam and Eve failed to understand, and what all sinners fail to see as they reject the ways of God, is that they are rejecting the only way. Satan is lying when he tells us that there are other options. There is nowhere else to go besides God. His plan for salvation of the human race is the only plan. He is in all things and moves all things and keeps it all going. He is the only One who can provide the Way.
For someone to decide to reject God is like saying they are going to reject breathing air. Imagine if someone decided they were going to live their life without breathing. How long would that last? There is no life for a human without air. Well, in the same way, there is no life without God, and there is no future hope other than the hope He had provided. All the other options are like trying to not to breathe. They aren’t actually real options. It is because of His truly amazing grace that God keeps humans living and breathing even when they are sinning against Him and rejecting His Son. He holds back His final judgment, giving them every chance, until they have come to the very end of their lives and have passed into death.
Consider this. If God stopped energizing everything that is, everything would immediately cease to exist. Think how arrogant it is when we, whose every breath depends on God, treat His plan and His ways with contempt. People do it all the time today…even people that love God can disregard His will. The same thing was happening in Jesus’ time. He had come from Heaven with the message of His Father, and God’s holy nation was treating Him like He was an option instead of their only path to Life.
It put them in a very dangerous position. They wouldn’t listen to His message given through healings and preaching…so Jesus began to declare stern warnings. If the nation at large would not follow their God, then perhaps He could reach the few in it who would. And those few, the remnant, had to be ready for what was coming. Jesus said:
“‘Be dressed, ready for service, and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him.’”
In this little story, it is clear that the Master is Jesus, and that His servants are His faithful followers. But why did they have to wait for Him? Wasn’t He sitting right there with them?
Many of the things Jesus said were cloaked in mystery. That is part of the strange beauty of all He said. His words were not only about what was happening in the very moment. They often spoke of things reaching far into the future, and they intertwined with thousands of years of great prophecy from the past.
Jesus was telling His true followers to always be ready for a time in the future…an epic moment of absolute and total change of the entire world order…the great and terrible Day of the Lord. Christ will come again, and He will bring the fullness of His work and the end to this fallen world and the Curse. That Day will be a time of judgment for those who don’t have faith in Jesus, but for those who do, it will be a time of great celebration and joy. In fact, it is the real hope that Christians are meant to live for. We have never been meant to act as if this earth were our home. We are to be always watching for the Second Coming, when Jesus will come as conquering the King! Jesus continued on with the story, and it told both His followers then and those who follow Him now about remarkable things to come:
“‘It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants who, if he finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night…You…must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.’”
Luke 12:37-38, 40
When the Lord comes again, He will bring His servants to eternal life. Those that followed Jesus in this life will enter everlasting life with Him. They will be the honored guests at a great feast in Heaven, and Jesus Himself, the Son of God, will delight in serving them. He will reward their love and service to Him on earth with a lavish display of love and honor at the End of Days. Wow.