On Tuesday, as Jesus moved closer to toward Good Friday, tradition holds he taught on God's wrath and judgment found in the Olivet Discourse (Mark 13, Matthew 24, Luke 21). Below is a reflective devotional written by Pastor Kyle Wetzler. “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. (Matthew 24:36-44 ESV)
The daily grind of life can easily distract us from the reality we find ourselves in. Expectations from family, work, friends, personal dreams, hopes, and desires keep our minds preoccupied from the moment we rise to the moment our head hits the pillow at night. It can feel as if we are on a perpetual treadmill with no end in sight. What Jesus is telling his disciples, and us, in this section of the Olivet Discourse is that there is an end. People can debate and argue what Christ’s return will look like but it doesn’t change the fact that one day He will. This is something that should impact the way we use our time, resources, and our lives. If we are being honest, this truth can be extremely far off, we believe that it will happen one day, but probably not tomorrow, probably not next week, or even within the next year. Jesus warns his disciples that the day will come, and implores them not to be caught surprised.
Jesus references Noah’s day as an example of what not to do. The Old Testament tells us that the people of that day were sinners, and it was their exceeding sinfulness that brought the flood on them (Genesis 6:5). But Jesus doesn’t use this to threaten or scare them, he simply reminds us that life before the flood was much like our own. People were engaged in eating and drinking, they were marrying and giving in marriage. We should notice that there is nothing inherently sinful in the activities; these actions are the same ones we participate in today. Unfortunately, these rhythms of life distracted Noah’s hearers from hearing the warning he gave of God’s coming judgement. Jesus is saying that people will again continue to go about their normal business right up to the time of his coming, ignoring the warning to get right with Christ before his return. Much like the flood, there will be the critical point, and after that, it will be too late. Jesus is saying that his second coming will be just as abrupt, just as unexpected, just as decisive as the flood.
As Christians, we should not forget the fact that Christ will one day return. For this day during holy week, I encourage you to contemplate this fact. Thinking how Christ's return could be any minute, how would that impact the way you carry yourself and engage in relationships? My guess is we’d take the Great Commission more seriously, love our family, serve our church like there was no tomorrow.