The passage we are looking at this week (Luke 12:35-48) deals with one of the fundamental beliefs of a follower of Jesus Christ, His literal return to earth.
The fact is according to the Bible, Jesus came once two thousand years ago, and He is coming again. Our passage this week gives us details about three aspects of Jesus' second coming: 1) When He is coming; 2) How we should prepare for His coming; and 3) The reward for being prepared for His coming.
When is He coming? Well actually...He doesn't tell us.
In fact, what He tells us about when He will come is that we won't know when it will be. This is why I find it funny when Christians claim to know when the world will end or when Jesus is coming back because He explicitly tells us it will be unexpected.
In Luke 12:39-40 he says, "But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him."
Jesus, the Son of Man, compares His coming to the coming of a thief to a house. The thief doesn't tell the owner of the house when he will come, that would be ridiculous! The thief comes when the owner of the house will least expect it. This is when Jesus will come, when we least expect it. We will not know the hour of His coming; we just need to be ready for it.
How are we supposed to be ready for Jesus' return? Jesus gives us two images to describe how we ought to be ready for His coming. The first is of servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet (12:35-38). Luke 12:35 says, "be dressed and ready for service and keep your lamps burning."
While the master is at the wedding banquet, the servants are to be ready to serve the master whenever he returns. In fact, Luke 12:38 indicates the wait may last until the second or third watch of the night. We're not sure whether a Roman night-watch is indicated or a Jewish night-watch.
A Roman night-watch is separated into four watches meaning the second watch would be between 9pm & midnight, and the third watch between midnight & 3am. A Jewish night-watch is separated into three watches meaning the second watch would be between 10pm & 2am, and the third watch between 2am & 6am. Either way, these servants need to be ready to serve at all times. Jesus is telling us we need to be ready for His return at all times.
The second image Jesus gives about how we are supposed to be ready, is one of a master who has put a manager in charge of his servants (Luke 12:42-44). The manager does not know when the master will return either, and so he must be diligent to continue doing the things the master has told him to do.
Jesus says the manager is supposed to give the servants "their food allowance at the proper time."
In the Gospels we find Jesus gives very clear instructions about how His followers are to conduct their lives. This is why it is so important that we seek to understand the things He has said. His words are spiritual nourishment, and we are responsible to share this food with all whom we have an opportunity.
What is the reward for being ready? In the first image, the wedding banquet, the reward for readiness at all times is that the master will serve the servants. Backwards, right? Faithfulness to Jesus results in being invited to recline at His table.
He says in Luke 12:37, "I tell you the truth, [the master] will dress himself to serve, will have [the servants] recline at the table and will come and wait on them. In the second image, the manager of the servants who is faithful is also given tremendous blessing upon the master's return.
Luke 12:44 says, "I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions." Wow! Jesus is promising we will share in His inheritance and sit at His table.
These are amazing rewards.
Rewards worth getting ourselves ready for. But the truth is the reason the servants are ready, the reason they wait expectantly for the master's return and do what He asks is that they respect the master's identity.
The fact is that throughout Luke's gospel we have seen Jesus demonstrate His authority over disease (Luke 4:40), nature (Luke 8:22-25)and death (Luke 7:11-17). We have seen Him forgive people's sin (Luke 7:48) and preach with authority (Luke 4:31-32).
If we respect Jesus' identity, we will be ready when He comes again.
Thank you for reading my blog, we will be talking about this text at Restoration Church in our Sunday night service at 5 p.m. on Feb 10. We meet every Sunday night at The Sage. We also have a weekly Bible study on Wednesday nights. If you would like more information, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.