Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Matthew 24:32-33 "Learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door."


Since Jesus' first appearance on earth as a baby at Bethlehem a question that has been on the minds of many is: "When will He keep His promise to return to earth a second time as judge?" Though many have foolishly tried to predict when it will happen, Jesus has not furnished us with this information. Rather, He has made known to us in His Word that that Day will happen suddenly (as the great flood happened in the days of Noah) and unexpectedly (as a thief breaks into a house in the middle of the night). On the other hand, Jesus has provided information about signs that will precede His second coming in order to remind us that the Last Day will surely happen and to urge us to prepare. He speaks of signs in nature (famines and earthquakes), signs in the history of nations (wars and rumors of wars), in society (increasing wickedness and worldly-mindedness), and in the church (a proliferation of false prophets, people being deceived and falling away from the truth).

How many of these signs do you see happening in the world today? How many have taken place in years past? Pretty much all of them, right? Therefore it is not wrong to think that Jesus' return to earth could happen anytime! It could happen while you're driving home from work tonight, eating breakfast with your family tomorrow morning, or raking leaves on your lawn this Saturday. It could happen while you're sleeping or watching football, speaking on the phone to a friend, or Face-booking on your computer. Since the signs of Jesus' second coming have all taken place, what should you be doing to get ready? The Bible's answer (may we each take it to heart): live each day in repentance for our sins, anchoring our hopes for forgiveness, life, and salvation in the One who lived and died for us and rose again. In the words of Luther: "No one is better prepared for Judgment Day than the person who longs to be without sin."

Great God, what do I see and hear?
The end of things created;
The judge of mankind shall appear
On clouds of glory seated.
The trumpet sounds; the graves restore
The dead which they contained before:
Prepare, my soul, to meet Him!
(The Lutheran Hymnal, 604:1)