32 “Now concerning that day or hour no one knows—neither the angels in heaven nor the Son—but only the Father. 33 “Watch! Be alert! For you don’t know when the time is coming.
When I was young, my parents enrolled me at St. Peter’s Catholic School. One of the oldest schools in the state, it was rich in history that dated back to just after the American Revolution. The church also housed one of the few remaining convents in the country. The nuns of the convent were the teachers in the school, along with the priests.
I can remember like it was yesterday a discussion I had with the Associate Priest, Father Thomas, on the Trinity. I was nine years old and was confused about the lesson we had in class that day. So I asked, “Why is there a three-headed person as our God, but all of the stained glass in the chapel only showed regular single-headed people?” After laughing, he gave me my first real theology lesson on the nature of the Trinity.
Thinking back on my question, I can understand why the priest thought my question was funny. However, since then I have sought to gain more of an understanding on the nature of the Trinity, a mystery which theologians have grappled with for centuries. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are all God, they are all One, but they are not each other.
While He was in His physical body on earth, Jesus was not omniscient, even though He was always connected to God. Paul explains in Philippians 2:6-7 that Jesus, “though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” Part of being emptied means Jesus abdicated His rights to manifest the fullness of His deity when He became one of us.
Mark 13:33 has challenged many people over the years. It has been a rally cry from street preachers, “Repent, for the end is near!” In context, however, it is easy to understand that Jesus wanted no one to perish. This requires more than simply accepting the gift of salvation and sitting on our laurels. Rather, we are to become active as disciples who are making disciples of Jesus Christ. After this verse, Jesus uses an example of a master who left the house in the servants’ care while he was gone. Verse 34 says the master “gave authority to his servants, and gave each one his work.” We are to continue the work Christ has assigned us as His servants until His return.
In summary, Mark 13:32-33 not only gives us insight into the relationship of the Son to the Father, it also carries a warning from Jesus that we should always be prepared for His return. He wants everyone to come to know Him and to be with Him in His Kingdom. None of us know when our Master will return, nor do we know the hour when He will call us to come before Him. All of us need to make sure we will hear Him say, “Well done,” when we are standing before Him.
In this period of Advent, it is especially important to remember the true meaning of Jesus’ birth, so we may better prepare ourselves, and others, to be His disciples, even as we await the day when we can be with Him forever.
Questions to Ask Yourself
No one knows when the Master will be returning or when we will be called to join Him. Here are some things you can do to make sure you are prepared.
- Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior? If not, pray the following: Dear Lord Jesus, I believe You died on the cross for my sin. Please forgive me. Come into my life. I receive You as my Lord and Savior. If you prayed this prayer, please let someone at church know you have accepted Christ.
- If you are a follower of Jesus Christ already, are you keeping His commands? Are you seeking out and making disciples?
- How are you preparing yourself, your spouse, your family and others for the coming of the Savior of the world?
We don’t know when the Lord will return, and I think that’s a good thing! This should keep us on our toes, knowing that the Lord could come anytime provides an urgency to share God’s love with others. One of the best ways to share God’s love is through serving. This softens your heart to those around you, all made in God’s image; it causes you to reflect on the ways that the Lord has blessed you and your family; and it shows others love, that only comes from Jesus. Today, find a way to serve your neighbors with your family. Some ideas are: raking their lawn for them, bringing over baked goods or flowers, writing notes of encouragement, washing their car. Whatever you do, do it out of an overflow of what Christ has done for you, and make sure to share that with your children.
In keeping with the Advent season, pray that our global worker families will experience hope this week. Pray for reminders for them that their Hope is secure in Christ, and for conversations in which they can share the hope of Christ with someone specific. Ask God to plant hope within your heart and family.