“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”
I just preached on these parables in Matthew 25 a few months ago. The passage itself is a compelling picture of wise living in the face of the imminent return of Jesus Christ. But taking this meandering slower trek through the book of Matthew casts it in a different light than parachuting in for one week and then carrying on to a different text. What strikes me is the sheer volume of admonitions Jesus puts forth on this topic.
Jesus keeps coming back to the fact that He is coming back. Not just here but the two other synoptic gospels include a lot of material on His return. John seems to be less concerned with it; understandably so for he is writing after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. He rather includes much that Jesus said about enduring persecution.
But John does not forget about the return of Christ in his old age. John was probably the youngest disciple, likely between 12 and 14 when he joined Jesus’ crew. So tradition has it that he is also the last surviving apostle in 90 AD when he pens the Revelation. In those pages, we discover that the return of his Savior is very much top of mind for John. On the island of Patmos, the virgins are all trimming their wicks (If you haven’t heard the Johnny Cash song with those lyrics, you need to listen to it).
But getting back to Matthew 25, it is obvious at the end of his life that John has taken this passage to heart. Here he is, imprisoned for wholeheartedly following Jesus, faithful to the end. John has taken was what given to him and proved himself a good servant of his Master. And so, even more than simple alertness to the final day of history, John is nursing it along in his prayers and writings.
“Amen. Come Lord Jesus.”
There is something more than alertness going on there; there is delight at thought that Jesus might come back at any time. Not cringing fear, not guilt busywork, but joy.
May you, in the power of the Holy Spirit, so live your life that its joyful fruit direct you to the return of Jesus Christ, anticipating with great expectations that day when every knee shall bend and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.