Four times in five verses, Jesus says these words. For roughly 2000 years the Church has waited in hope of Christ’s return, but with the passing of time drowsiness has set in, and we hardly ever speak of Christ’s return anymore.
Jesus was resolute that He would return, though the exact day and hour was known only to the Father. And His warning was simple – stay ready. But the longer we have waited, the reality of Christ’s return has taken a back seat to the intense challenges and joys of living in this present age. Meanwhile, cynicism has set in. Peter saw this coming:
“…scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” 2 PETER 3:3-4
Peter tells us that the delay of Christ’s return is caused by God’s mercy, wanting those who are lost ample opportunity to repent.
“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” 2 PETER 3:9
But a day will come, just like that day when the door of the ark was closed, and it began to rain.
“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.” 2 PETER 3:10
In the back of his mind as he wrote these words, Peter had to be thinking of the parable Jesus had told when warning the disciples before his death.
“The kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept.
“But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him. Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’
“And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”
Paul, too, took pains to warn the church in Rome about living in expectancy of Christ’s return:
“Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand.
So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” ROMANS 13:11-14
As Dave Talley preaches this Sunday, may the “works of darkness” be obvious to each of us individually. May we rearm ourselves with the weaponry God has made available to us. And may a longing spring up in our hearts for the reappearing of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.