Jesus said: “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself, only the Father knows. So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected” – Matthew 25: 36, 42, 44.
Therefore: “Owe nothing to anyone- except for your obligation to love one another …; time is running out. Wake up,… The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armour of right living…, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.” – Romans 13: 8, 11, 12, 14.
The Advent season marks the beginning of the Christian year. It commemorates the first coming of Jesus Christ for the redemption of mankind and orientates the mind of believers to the reality of His return to judge everybody according to their performance.
The Scriptures tell us so much about the return of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself spoke and confirmed it in so many passages (John 14: 3; Acts 1: 11) etc. His coming back is imminent, but the day and hour are unknown even by angels. Only God knows about the day and hour. Nevertheless, the signs of His coming are clear (Matthew 24: 3 – 14; 2 Tim. 3: 1- 12). Just as in the days of Noah, when the first world was destroyed, and Noah and his family were saved, so shall the end be. We are seeing the signs of His coming; they are all around us, namely: false christs, false prophets, wars and rumours of wars, famines, pestilence, earthquakes and betrayals etc.
For many Christians, the picture painted by Christ Himself, as well as the events of the revelation to St. John, may look difficult to understand. The first part of the book of Revelation contains near and end-of-time prophesies, some of which have already been fulfilled – Iraq is the site of ancient Babylon and was virtually destroyed by the NATO forces in fulfilment of Matthew 24: 6 – 7. Howbeit, the time is not given, but the certainty of His coming is assured. St. Paul writes, “Now we see but a poor reflection; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (1 Cor. 13: 12). He who promised is faithful; and we need to repeat to ourselves this declaration by Job: “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth”.
Jesus takes occasion, from the foregoing teaching on the certainty and suddenness of His coming for judgment, to underscore the duty of diligent and industrious watchfulness by His disciples and followers. When our Lord Jesus ascended on high, He left something for all His servants to do. We ought to be watching always, in expectation of His return. We know not whether our Master will come in the days of youth, or middle age, or old age. Our great care must be that, whenever the Lord comes, He will not find us indulging in ease and sloth, mindless of our work and duty. He says to all, Watch! (Mark 13: 37).
Just as the farmer reaps a good harvest at the end of his labours, Christians must live by faith, work hard for the Master, and look toward the future reward of their labours. Never you stop watching and working as you patiently await the coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Beloved, let your prayer always be: “O God, grant that I may never indulge in frivolities of this world to forget the second coming of my Lord; help me to always be watchful and steadfast, so that whenever He comes, I may be found in peace, without spot, and blameless through the same Jesus Christ my Lord and Saviour”. Amen.
May the Lord meet you watching and working when He returns.
Your brother, Vicar & Archdeacon