29 Then he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. 30 As soon as they put out leaves you can see for yourselves and recognize that summer is already near. 31 In the same way, when you see these things happening, recognize that the kingdom of God is near. 32 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all things take place. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. 34 “Be on your guard, so that your minds are not dulled from carousing, drunkenness, and worries of life, or that day will come on you unexpectedly 35 like a trap. For it will come on all who live on the face of the whole earth. 36 But be alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place and to stand before the Son of Man.” 37 During the day, he was teaching in the temple, but in the evening he would go out and spend the night on what is called the Mount of Olives. 38 Then all the people would come early in the morning to hear him in the temple.
It’s Time! We can’t wait any longer. We’ve got to leave now! And when that time comes, you’d better be ready: have your bags packed, in the car, don’t let anything distract you, and know where you are going. All signs point to the certain fact that a baby is about to be born, and you want to make sure the birth happens at the hospital.
It’s Time! In His infinite wisdom and in accordance with His perfect plan, God has decided:
It’s Time: Creation began.
It’s Time: A Hebrew boy was born and hidden by his mother in the reeds along the river. It was time for God to start His plan to lead His people out of bondage in Egypt and into the Promised Land.
It’s Time: God spoke His truth to prophets who were obedient to speak those same truths to Israel and Judah.
It’s Time: God sent His angel to visit a young virgin named Mary and reveal to her His plan for bringing the Son of God to earth in the form of a baby born in Bethlehem.
It’s Time: Jesus resolutely set His face toward Jerusalem, fully aware that death awaited Him on a cross at Calvary.
It’s Time: God sent His angel to open the tomb for the disciples to see that death has no power over the resurrected Jesus.
Jesus shares with His disciples that one day, in God’s time, He will return. The Gospels record in detail Jesus’ instructions to His disciples about His return. See Matthew 24:26-35, Mark 13:24-31, and Luke 21:5-36 for further reading
Jesus promises that just as the budding of the trees is a sign of the promise of summer, there will be signs that point to His return. Unlike the promise of the coming summer, these signs speak of significant devastating events that include persecution, great destruction, war and desolation. Today, the news of similar events is broadcast across the world almost every day.
Jesus tells us we must exercise discipline and diligence as we anticipate His return so that we can “stand before the Son of Man.” Jesus says that it’s time to:
- Let no one deceive you
- Be on your guard
- Be alert
- Always be on the watch
- Stand fast and faithful in prayer and study of the Word of God
- Avoid the distractions of sinful pleasures and the anxieties of life
Jesus promises He will protect those who stand firm in Him and will deliver them through the coming tribulations. Therefore, it’s time for you and me to commit to walking in an obedient relationship with Jesus and feeding on His eternal Word. It’s time we allow our belief in the return of Jesus to be transformed into a living expectation that His return is imminent.
Jesus is coming again. Only God the Father knows when. Let this Advent season be the time for each of us to celebrate the birth of Jesus and a time to commit our lives to living in anticipation of the promised return of Jesus.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Many Bibles have study guides that list the Old Testament prophecies concerning the coming Messiah and the New Testament scriptures where Jesus fulfills each prophecy. If you do not have such a study guide, find one and spend time meditating on the prophecies and how Jesus was the fulfillment of each.
- Is it more important to look for the signs of the coming of Jesus or to spend time getting to know the person of Jesus?
- Do you anticipate the coming of Jesus with ‘childlike anticipation’?
As a family, talk about things that you guys do at the same time, or around the same time every day. This could be waking up, eating a meal, going to school or work or a sports practice. We all have things in our lives that happen at a certain time, and that’s what Jesus was sharing with the disciples. There will be a specific time, when Jesus comes back for a final redemption. Jesus gives the disciples signs of what to look for, but more importantly he tells them how to prepare their hearts: Don’t be tricked, pray to God, read the Word, avoid getting caught up in things that are harmful to you. Pray together as a family that your hearts would be prepared for Jesus. Commit to sharing with at least one person, the goodness that Jesus offers His followers.
Pray for global workers in our church family Andrew and Maury, who got married this year. They work cross-culturally to bring the gospel to refugees in Nashville, and plan to relocate overseas. Pray for their new marriage, and for God to equip them to serve internationally.