Advent 1 (Year A)
Context: Jesus is in Jerusalem after the triumphal entry, cleansing of the temple, cursing of the fig tree, and encountering religious leaders. Jesus is asked a question by the disciples in verse 24:3. This reading picks up mid-answer which began in verse 24:4.
Location: Mount of Olives (Matt 24:3)
Characters: Jesus is speaking. Disciples are listening.
24:36- “That day and hour” no one knows about is the second coming of Jesus (earlier referred to as The Son of Man). It is odd that Jesus, as the second member of the Trinity, doesn’t know when his second coming would be. My main question from this verse: Why doesn’t Jesus know? Nevertheless, it is clear that only The Father knows the timing of Jesus’ prophesied events.
24:37, 38, 39- It might be helpful to read through the Noah story since the coming of the Son of Man is compared to the time of Noah. The days of Noah are days when everything seems normal/mundane with partying and marrying. People during this times have no idea that the flood is coming. There is a clear hinting here that if the disciple wants to be like Noah, and make it through, they have to pay attention.
24:40, 41- Often these passages are used as proof of the rapture. But, nowhere does it say that being taken is a good thing nor that being left is a bad thing. It is unclear which one is saved from harm.
24:42- Keeping awake means more than not sleeping, but being attentive.
24:43- This is an illustration on being attentive. It causes me to pause; Jesus compares his second coming to a thief coming in the night. A their in the middle of the night would be very scary. If anyone has ever heard a loud crash after you’ve been in bed a while, you know that there is a paralyzing fear that happens when you think there is an intruder in the house.
24:44- This is the summary verse of the whole passage and sums up our call while we await the second coming.
It’s important for us to keep alert for the second coming of Christ always mindful that only the Father knows the time when it will happen. We should therefore disregard all those people who claim to know some secret of when it will take place; this part of scripture tells us that they actually don’t know.
Knowing that Jesus is coming is not fear inducing for those who trust in his grace and not in good works. If there is any hint of producing our own righteousness through good works, then the second coming is a fear inducing event. But, if we trust solely in God’s grace and mercy we have no need to fear; Jesus is full of grace and mercy always giving it to those in need.
What we can be sure of is that Jesus is coming. He came as an infant, born in a manger and he will come again in glory.
If I were preaching this week, I would focus what it means to be ready for the second coming.