More than once, actually several times before Jesus went to the cross, He warned us to be ready for His return. Did you get that? He knew that death would not hold Him on the cross and would not keep Him in the grave. He would rise again after three days, spend forty more days upon the earth to prove it, then return to the Father in Heaven.
He told of the homeowner and the thief in Matthew 24:42-44, and the good and wicked servants in Matthew 24:45-51, and the ten virgins in Matthew 25:1-13, and the talents in Matthew 25:14-30. The main point in each of these examples Jesus gave was to be ready.
Those who lived prior to the flood of Noah’s day were not ready even though they had 120 years to get ready. Now get this: for 120 years, they had been warned that a great flood was coming. The visual of Noah building an ark on dry ground should have told them something. I’m sure there were many questions along with their mockery of “this crazy guy” Noah, and no doubt Noah relayed to them that God’s judgment was coming. They didn’t listen. Are we listening today?
God promised that He would never again destroy all life with a flood and there would never again be a flood to destroy the earth (Genesis 9:11). He even gave us a sign to remind us of His promise, the sign of the rainbow. (Those who have mocked and dishonored this sign are in for a rude awakening.)
Before we get too haughty, God told us later on in His Word that the world and all that is in it will be judged again, and the next time it will be judged by fire.
“For by fire and by His sword
The LORD will judge all flesh;
And the slain of the LORD shall be many” (Isaiah 66:16).
“For behold, the day is coming,
Burning like an oven,
And all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble.
And the day which is coming shall burn them up,”
Says the LORD of hosts,
‘That will leave them neither root nor branch” (Malachi 4:1).
“But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men…. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up” (2 Peter 3:7, 10).
In Luke 21:36, the Lord says, “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
In Luke 17:26-30, Jesus warns us that the last days will be like the days of Noah and the days of Lot.
Luke 12:35-48 is another very revealing Scripture passage about being ready, faithful and wise. We should be like servants who keep their lamps burning and are waiting at all hours for the unexpected arrival of the master of the house.
Matthew 24:36 and Mark 13:32 tell us, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.”
My friends, Jesus is going to return. It may be in my lifetime, and it may not. It doesn’t matter. Either way, my destination will be my home in Heaven. Many, many others can say the same because we know Christ Jesus as our Savior and Lord. Unfortunately, there are many times more who are like those in Noah and Lot’s day. They don’t know Jesus and couldn’t care less. Their only interest is in what this world has to offer.
Since Jesus returned to Heaven, our post-Noah world has been receiving warnings from God of His coming final judgment. God’s judgment upon this world and those of this world during the soon-to-come Tribulation period is nothing to take lightly. Once Jesus removes His bride (the Church), the Tribulation judgment will be hell on earth.
Jesus gave us our marching orders in Matthew 28:18-20, which says, “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.”
Through the apostle Peter, Jesus had a message to us to feed His sheep:
“So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Feed My lambs.’
“He said to him again a second time, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Tend My sheep.’
“He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?’ Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, ‘Do you love Me?’ And he said to Him, ‘Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed My sheep.’
“Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.’
“This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, ‘Follow Me'” (John 21:15-19).
In my opinion, this conversation between Jesus and Peter is especially pertinent to those who are pastors. Many of today’s pastors aren’t going to be happy when they stand before the Lord Jesus Christ and He asks them, “Did you feed my sheep?”
It is also for Christian parents, who need to teach their children the Word of God beginning at an early age. It is for Sunday School teachers, Bible teachers, Christian writers, evangelists, etc.
I think too many Christians believe that as long as they’re saved, they are ready for Jesus’ return. What about those just within our circle? Are they ready? Can you and I say along with the apostle Paul …
“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:6-8).
If we can, then we too are ready for Jesus’ return.
Pre-Rapture Commentary: http://grant-phillips.blogspot.com
Rapture Ready: https://www.raptureready.com/featured/phillips/phillips.html