Wednesday 9 October 2013

Matthew 24:29-51 - An unexpected time

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Here in Matthew 24:29-51 we see the Son of Man in all of his power. After the period of great trouble (immediately afterwards) all the lights will go out. The sky itself will be shaken, the sun, moon and stars will stop shining and the Son of Man will come "with power and great glory".

Whether you see this as a literal convulsion of the entire universe, as a local manifestation in the Earth's atmosphere blocking the light, or as a figurative picture, it's abundantly clear that something of major significance is involved.

Jesus says it will follow the sign of the times just as  summer follows the time of young leaves on the fig tree in the spring. When spring is here, summer is inevitably just around the corner. This upheaval of Earth and sky is the same.

But Jesus' words are confusing. He says, "This generation" without specifying which generation he means. The one he is speaking to? The one that witnesses the time of great trouble? And he says that not even the Son knows when the time will come, but only the Father. But until that time, life will go on as normal and people will be unsuspecting. But he does say very clearly that we should be ready.

Jesus lived in the world for thirty years, doing nothing but building work and carpentry. Then, at the right time, he began the main task for which he had come. Like him, we lived in the world doing ordinary things until we were called for a new and extraordinary task.

It's essential that we be found working when he comes, not sleeping. The take-home message is very clear even though the details seem mysterious. We have a new job to do and we need to be engaged in it wholeheartedly.

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