“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.
“Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’” (Mark 13:32-37)
Is there anything more vertical than the Second Coming of Christ? It’s the point where everything changes on planet earth. The sky will be rolled back like a scroll that has hidden reality from our eyes and the Son of Man will appear in the heavenlies. It will no longer be the actions of men that matter, but the work of God. Nations and rulers will become irrelevant as the King of Kings ascends His throne.
Jesus discourages speculation regarding timing as He declares that no one knows about that day or hour. But even more strongly, He discourages ignoring it. As a matter of fact, He clearly commands us to be actively involved in watching for His coming. It’s a vertical command, inserted into the horizontal of everyday life.
The Lord uses a simple illustration of a man going away on a trip who leaves his servants in charge of his house. They have tasks to do, but over all of those tasks is the command to be watching for his return. This period of watchful waiting is a time to finish the tasks given, but especially a time for paying attention to their Master’s possible return.
The old adage attributed to Thomas Jefferson: “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today” is very powerful for believers. There are many times we have regretted putting off opportunities to reach into the lives of others because we thought we were too busy, or too tired . . . or because we just disobeyed the promptings of God. There are people who need to hear about Jesus, or kind acts or words that could be said or done now, that we may forget about tomorrow if we procrastinate. Opportunities to bring glory to God could be missed or lost if we are lazy about attending to the urging of the Holy Spirit.
Are you praying for the Lord’s return? It’s one of the best ways we know to keep watch. The prayer of the early Church was, “Come soon, Lord Jesus!” Daily prayer for the coming of Jesus will keep you on your watch and encourage you to finish the tasks He has given you to do.
Listen: Spend a few quiet moments seeking God. Be attentive to whatever He may speak to your heart.
Reflect: How is the Spirit leading you to respond to what you have heard from God?
Confess and Repent: If there is something the Spirit convicts you of, take time to prayerfully confess it. Resolve to turn from it if it is sin, or step toward whatever He is leading you into that you have either neglected or not seen before.
Ask: Come soon, Lord Jesus! That’s my prayer today. Forgive me for getting so caught up in worldly matters that my heart fails to thrill at the thought of You coming in glory. Help me to continue to watch and pray.
- How watchful are you? Do you wait for others to discern the times for you, or are you paying attention to what is going on in the world that reflects what Scripture describes as leading toward the coming of Jesus? If you haven’t already, begin to pay attention to the times in which we live, and determine to pray daily for Christ’s soon return.
- Ask God to show you how you fit into the end of days. Is there a people group or nation He lays upon your heart to pray intently for? Are there loved ones or acquaintances who need to hear about Jesus from you?
- Who can you encourage today to be watchful? There are many who are ignoring the signs of the Lord’s return because their hearts are too embedded in this world. How can you give those in your sphere of influence (children, grandchildren, coworkers, etc.) a vertical perspective so that they may finish well?
Taken from Vertical with Jesus by David and Kim Butts. © 2022 PrayerShop Publishing.