Today's scripture focus passage: Luke 12:35-40 ~ Watchfulness
“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like servants 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. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, 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 whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”Christians the world over and throughout the centuries ~ ever since Jesus promised to return ~ have lived with the expectation that His return is imminent, the next thing in the sequence of end-time events. And they're right to have done so. We're right to continue living that way. We don't know when He'll return, but we do know with certainty the Second Coming is much sooner now than it was 2000 years ago.
Here, Jesus reminds His followers to live in readiness, and He gives four analogies ~ clothes, lamps, servants, and thieves. He tells them to:
- Be dressed in readiness. The literal translation is the more archaic text "gird up your loins." Because of the style of clothing worn in those days, in order to run or go into battle, the bottom of the robe was tucked up into a sash tied around the waist to give more freedom and ease of movement. This is the same instruction given to the Israelites when they ate the first-ever Passover meal on their last night in Egypt. That's how ready we're supposed to be.
- Light their lamps in readiness. We all know the parable of the ten virgins awaiting the bridegroom and how the faithful, prepared five were taken into the house to feast, but the other five were left in the dark because they were caught lamp-less when the bridegroom finally returned in the middle of the night. The wise five thought ahead and brought extra oil in case they'd have to wait longer than one lamp-full of oil would last. Being ready at all times means making necessary preparations for a long wait.
- Serve in readiness. Jesus tells His followers to be the kind of spiritual servants who are left in charge of their master's house while he's gone, but who keep the household in a state of preparedness for his return though they have no idea when to expect him. Upon the master's return, if he finds things running smoothly exactly as he left them, he will reward the faithfulness of his servants. We need to persevere in service, no matter how long we have waited for our Master's return, or how long we may continue to wait.
- Be watchful. A thief can't very well break in when the people of the house know when to expect him. His business depends on the element of surprise. Now Jesus isn't saying here that He'll come with evil intent like a thief does, only that He'll come unexpectedly like a thief does. We need to be on guard, ever with our gaze fixed Heavenward, so we will live in such a way that His coming isn't unexpected and we are finished the work He gave us to do.
What a banquet that will be! And what great encouragement to continue on, to persevere, when it feels like He isn't returning any time soon and evil is winning at every turn.
Take heart! He will return. He will reward His faithful servants. All we need to do is live in readiness for that great day.
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year reading: Philippians 3; Proverbs 6; Isaiah 7-8
Tomorrow's scripture focus passage: Luke 12:41-48