By Courtney and Peter Thompson
Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come.
Shortly before the crucifixion, Jesus takes time to lay out some very serious and vivid truths about what the disciples should expect in the future. What he describes about the end times—the abomination of desolation, the sun and moon darkening, stars falling from the sky—are really scary things! He says that heaven and earth themselves will pass away, which is easy to read quickly and gloss over, but imagine! How terrifying would it be for the very earth you’re standing on to just fall apart and disappear?
Jesus’ instruction, though, isn’t to give into fear or dismay; the proper response is to remain alert and pray. Although we don’t know if we’re living in the end times now (because “no one knows”), we’re living in a hard, scary time. There’s a pandemic, political and social unrest, discord even within the church, but our response should be the same: stay alert and pray. Share the gospel and preach the good news to the nations (Mark 13:10). Love one another (John 13: 34). Know God and make Him known (Matt 28:19).
It seems simple, but we are so easily distracted and lulled into spiritual sleep by our families, jobs, friends, money, and our lives. My hope and prayer for myself, my family, and our church during this Advent season is that we will take this time of celebrating our Savior incarnation as a reminder to be awake and prayerful for His imminent return. Let’s not lose sight of the joy that’s coming. Let’s not let our present circumstances cloud our future hope. Jesus is coming back with great power and glory, and he will gather his elect “so we will always be with the Lord” (1 Thess 4:17). There’s hope now, and there’s hope for the future. The end times are just the beginning.
Lord, keep us awake and alert. Fill and focus our hearts on You.