WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
DECEMBER 7, 2021
TOPIC: CHRIST COULD COME BACK AT ANY TIME
BY T. O. BANSO
“Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matthew 24:42-44 New King James Version).
In Matthew 24, the disciples of Jesus came to Him privately and asked Him what could be considered as three questions. This was after His disciples had shown Him the buildings of the Temple and He had told them that not one stone would be left upon another of the buildings they had seen but they would be thrown down (Matthew 24:1-2).
Verse 3 says, “Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (New King James Version). In this verse are the three questions Jesus’ disciples asked. First, was when would this thing be? In other words, when would the destruction of the Temple He spoke about happen?
The second question was what the sign of Jesus’ coming would be. And the third was what the sign of the end of the age would be. But the last two questions are interwoven. The whole of chapter 24 records Jesus’ answer to these questions but there are arguments about which part of the answer is for a particular question. This conversation Jesus had with His disciples is also recorded in Mark 13.
Jesus said so many things that would happen before the destruction of the Temple, before His coming, or before the end of the age. I won’t go into the controversies on the last days’ Bible prophecy. My focus is on the return of the Lord.
My understanding is that Jesus’ emphasis as regards His coming back was not much on the events that would precede it but the preparedness of those who believe in Him for His coming. While He highlighted the events that would precede His return, His concern was more on living ready for His return.
There are two aspects to Jesus’ return: the rapture with the saints and His return with the saints to the earth to establish His kingdom for one thousand years before the final judgment of sinners and the creation of the new heaven and earth. But there are divergent views on this in Christianity.
1Thessalonians 4:16 says, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (New King James Version).
While on earth, Jesus told His disciples He would come back. “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:1-3 New King James Version).
At the ascension of Jesus to heaven, His disciples looked steadfastly toward heaven as He ascended after His resurrection and forty days of presenting Himself alive to them by many infallible proofs. Two men, in white apparel, standing by them, said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11 New King James Version).
Jesus did not only say that He would come back, but He also said that His coming would be unexpected. He compared it to the coming of a thief in the night. “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matthew 24:42-44 New King James Version). Luke 12:39-40 says a similar thing.
Warning on the need to prepare for His coming, Jesus said, “Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is” (Mark 13:33 New King James Version). Verses 35-37 continue what Jesus said: “Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming–in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning– lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!” (New King James Version).
Furthermore, Jesus said in Matthew 25:13, “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming” (New King James Version). The return of Jesus would be sudden, therefore, the need to be prepared and watchful. Our concern should not be the order or sequence of events that would happen before Jesus returns but to be in a constant state of preparedness.
Christ could come back at any time. The apostle Paul also says the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night. “But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:1-2 New King James Version).
Jesus told the church in Sardis, “Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you” (Revelation 3:3 New King James Version). Also, Jesus said in Revelation 16:15, “Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame” (New King James Version).
The coming back of Jesus will be sudden. Preparation will be too late then as it was for the five foolish virgins in Matthew 25:1-13. The apostle Peter added his voice when he said the day of the Lord would come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens would pass away with a great noise, and the elements would melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that were in it would be burned up (2 Peter 3:10).
Live ready. Jesus could come at any time. Nobody knows the time and don’t be deceived by those who set the date for His coming. “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly” (Luke 21:34 New King James Version).
Live in accordance with the teachings of Jesus. Don’t live as sinners do. Abide in Christ. “And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming” (1 John 2:28 New King James Version).
Avoid a sinful lifestyle. Watch and pray always so that you won’t be rejected when He comes (Luke 21:36). “But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:4-9 New King James Version).
Speaking in the same vein in Romans 13:11-14, Paul says, “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts” (New King James Version).
The apostle James says we should be patient and establish our hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand (James 5:8). Jesus is coming back. Nobody knows the exact time. He could come while you’re alive or after your death. Live ready. Don’t stay idle because Jesus is coming. Live righteously as if Jesus is not going to come but also live with the expectancy that He could also come back today. Be busy doing the Master’s work. Occupy till He comes (Luke 19:13). Live ready for the Master’s return. Christ could come back at any time.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Holy Spirit, help me to live ready for the coming of Christ. Help me to live righteously as if Christ is not going to come but also live with the expectancy that He could come today. Holy Spirit, help me to take heed to myself so that my heart will not be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life. Jesus’ return will not come on me unprepared.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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