Get Your Homework Done
32 “But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. 34 It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. 35 Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning— 36 lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. 37 And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.”
As many of you listening know, I had surgery this past Monday. As we sat in the pre-op area waiting to be taken to the OR, the surgeon came and picked up my chart and was reading through it. At one point he stopped and asked if I had my blood work done, and I said yes. And he said it wasn’t there. After a discussion, I realized he wasn’t talking about the blood work that was normal pre-op blood work. Back in September he had given me an order for a specialized blood work up related to some issues I have had in the past. And I had forgot about it. As I sat there in the bed,I debated in my head what to say. I was embarassed, he was preparing to call his office help because I had said it was done- but now I realized it was something else and .... well, I just told him I didn’t do it.
The dog didn’t eat my homework. Janice didn’t even know about it. This was on me. So I fessed up.
He stressed the importance of the blood work, but it would not be something that would cancel surgery so we were on. But he did give me an order and sternly told me to be sure I had it done following surgery.
What happened? why didn’t I get it done? Well, at the end of the day I forgot. I hadn’t made the decision to follow through on his suggested surgery, and I had taken time to think and pray about it. And in that time I also forgot about the order. It actually caught me off guard when he spoke about it because I had actually forgot about it that well....
You too, may have forgotten something important along the way. Maybe you were embarassed- or maybe you had a fair chance at proving that the dog ate your homework.
Whatever the case, it’s important to be ready for important things- and certainly to be ready for the most important things .
32 “But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
“That Day”… humm, what is that day exactly. Well, it marks the end of a period of time in the eschatalogical days. And now you’re starting to fall asleep, because of that word eschatalogical. It simply means last things, end times.
The parousia, another big word, is the great day that will bring an end to “those days.” And it gets confusing.
If it sounds confusing, and it is, please note that this verse tells us that even Jesus didn’t know the details. He wasn’t confused about it. He simply laid down that omniscience of his to become one of us.
And the reason we don’t know is because when he ascended in Acts 1, He said it wsa not for his disciples to know the times or the seasons.
33 Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come.
Because we don’t know when the time comes, we need to be on guard.... we need to stay awake. Ready.
We know that was hard for the disciples.... Matt 26.40-41
40 And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
34 It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake.
In our day and age, we don’t have doorkeepers. In Jesus’ day, if you were a wealthy person, you had a doorkeeper who stood watch. And that is precisely what Jesus is saying here.
Place yourself in the shoes of the doorkeeper. You’ve got to stay awake . prepared.
35 Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning—
Don’t just stay awake. Stay awake all night.
Jesus outlines the four watches of the night. evening, midnight, rooster crowing, morning.
36 lest he come suddenly and find you asleep.
37 And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.”
This passage began with the word “watch”. Jesus repeats it again and again throughout this passage. Watch. And now he ends with it. But now, it is not directed to a few disciples, or even those other disciples- it includes us.
We don’t have a road map. We don’t have a gps to navigate precisely the events of the end times. And the reason we don’t is because these matters are not horoscopes, they are issues for God to deal with.
We have one command relating to these things. Be ready! Watch! Don’t be caught off guard.
What Jerusalem faced in the destruction of the temple is but a foretaste of the judgment that will fall on the whole world. So.... be ready.
Listen to the verbage of just 4 verses in this passage:“Be on guard! Be alert!” (v. 33); “Therefore keep watch” (v. 35); “do not let him find you sleeping” (v. 36); and “Watch!” (v. 37).
We are discussing a trip at our house. We want to plan a vacation for when this pandemic is over. But here’s our problem. One of us likes maps. So, we bought an atlas. You know, a book of maps But one of us likes technology. So we are looking at new GPS technology.
And here’s the bigger problem. Flipping through a map while barreling down the highway is dangerous. And trying to figure out the bells and whistles of the latest technology while travelling down the interstate is just as hazardous. Tools that are meant to be a help suddenly become a hazard.
And that is Jesus’ point. Get ready. Be about His work now and stop being so concerned about setting a date or figuring it all out. Just be ready for when it occurs. However it occurs.
But there’s a second point. Not just don’t try to figure it all out on the fly when you are never going to--- don’t forget to stay awake while you wait. Don’t be caught unaware.
Practice Makes Perfect but Consistent Makes Committed.
Jesus is not saying to His disciples, “Get out there and run a few laps and learn a few new plays so you are ready for the game.” He is not saying, “Go put in 3 hours a day on that musical score so you get it right.” That’s practice.
Jesus is saying, “It’s too late to prepare for the game or the concert. Because you are already in it.” So, be alert, be awake- be consistent in your commitment.
Isn’t it interesting how we continue to hear sermon after sermon after sermon. To read Christian book after book after book. We go to seminars and conferences and try harder and harder to learn how to do this Christian thing the right way. STOP!
WE need to stop and realize that we are now in this live. It’s on. And there is not time to get ready any longer. Now it’s time to live it.
So don’t be caught brushing up on trying. Be caught ready- you are now in the game and the concert has begun, and there’s no time for preparation any longer. All you can do now is consistently do your best to the end and in that consistency prove your committedness. Your readiness.
I remember a class in high school where one of the smartest kids in our class had not prepared for a test. And he figured out the dumbest solution. He wrote key notes on a page in a notebook and placed the notebook open under the seat of another student in the next row over from him. And of course, the teacher caught it. He wasn’t prepared, He wasn’t ready, He hadn’t gotten prepared, and he flunked the test.
The time for preparing is gone. We can’t cheat or fake. We just have to dive in and be at it the best we can. But most of all, don’t get caught asleep or off guard.
He’s told us it’s coming. We just have to be ready when it arrives.
So how does that look? We live it day in and day out.
So our neighbors, our family, our friends, the clerk at the store, the person in the car next to us, anyone with whom we may have contact can see that a consistent walk for Christ may not be perfect, but it is committed and ready.
So when the kingdom of God comes, we aren’t caught off guard- but actually we’ve been living it all along.
A song from the history by Seals and Croft was titled, “We may never pass this way again.”
We need to live like the title of that song.
We may never have an opportunity again to love someone like Jesus- to show forgiveness like Jesus- to show justice like Jesus. So, when the opportunity arises we shouldn’t discuss the finer theological points or the practical points of being jChrist to others- we should just do it . Consistently with clarity and commitedly.