When Jesus knew His death was near, He tried to prepare his disciples for what was coming and for life after He was gone from this earth. He told them that one day earth as they know it would be very different. That evil would be rampant. That an evil world leader would take the stage. And that God would finally pour out His wrath on sinful mankind. He also promised that one day He would return to judge the world and set up His Kingdom. He said that because no one knows the day or the hour, they must be ready at all times. Today, Jesus’ return is still future and it is drawing closer every day. We would be wise to pay attention to Jesus’ words and be ready.
Jesus used a few different parables to tell his disciples (and us) how to be ready for His return. (Matthew 24:42-25:30)
First, He tells about a master that leaves his servant in charge when he goes away. The servant will either be ready for his master to return at any moment and be busy taking care of business, or he will live as though his master won’t be back for a while, spending his days satisfying his sinful desires. If we put ourselves in this story, it is clear that we need to be on God’s plan. We must surrender every area of our life to His purposes and faithfully accomplish the mission He has for us. If you have not surrendered your life to Jesus then you are not living according to God’s plan and you, like the faithless servant in the parable, will end up in hell, separated from God for all of eternity.
If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. – Romans 10:9
Next, Jesus tells us about ten virgins that were eagerly awaiting the return of the bridegroom. They all came with their lamps, but only half of them were prepared with extra oil to keep them burning. The ones that did not bring extra oil were unprepared. They were “thoughtless, silly and careless”. The ones that did bring extra oil were “far-sighted, practical and sensible”. (Amplified translation) They knew that the bridegroom’s arrival was imminent, but they also knew that they could be waiting a while. They wanted to be sure their lamps would still be burning when he arrived. The virgins that ran out of oil missed the coming of the bridegroom. We have the choice to be prepared and in a close relationship with Jesus, eagerly awaiting His return. Or to wait until it’s too late and when He returns, we will hear Him say, “I do not know you.”
Finally, Jesus tells about a master that gave three of his servants talents to oversee while he was away. Two of the servants put their talents to work and when the master came back, they had something to show for them. The third servant hoarded them and and accomplished nothing with them. God gives each of us gifts and abilities to use for His Kingdom. We will either disregard our God-given blessings and waste them, or we will value them, use them wisely for His Kingdom and one day hear Jesus say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
As Jesus’ return draws closer, we must remember the lessons Jesus taught so that we will be ready to see Him face-to-face. We should be taking care of business for our Master and not living life to satisfy our own selfish desires. We should be prepared, in a relationship with Jesus, keeping our light shining in the darkness around us. And we should be using the blessings God has given us to accomplish His purposes for His Kingdom.
Jesus is coming back! Will you be ready?