I have been watching for the coming of Jesus, my Lord and Savior, all of my life. It consumes my heart and my soul. I just can't help it!Continue...page 2
From the night that I got saved in 1957, there has been instilled deep within my soul a realization that the very same Jesus that died for me is coming back. I can remember going down to the principle's office in elementary school to read from the Bible during lunchtime over the intercom. This was in the days of course when Bible reading was still a constitutionally permissible ideal for school kids. The few verses that I read that day have had an impact on me all through the past 42 years of my life!
I haven't a recollection as to how John 14:1-3 was chosen for me to read to the school that day; and I don't even know why or how I was selected to read them. It was standard practice to have some kid read from the Bible during lunch then, so apparently my turn had simply arrived.
Read these verses carefully:
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me (Jesus).
In my father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I (Jesus) would have told you. I (Jesus) go to prepare a place for "You".
And if I (Jesus) go and prepare a place for "You"; I will come again (2nd coming), and receive You unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also.
I still love reading those verses! I have never been troubled of heart since reading them the first time. I find in these verses hope, assurance and excitement. I am so glad that Jesus personally stated that he'd be coming back, and coming back just to receive me! I just can't help watching for Him! "I love watching!"
Jesus informed his disciples in John 13 that he was leaving this world and that where he was going they could not yet come, but could follow him afterward. Acts 1:11 verified to the disciples that Jesus, although leaving would return. Undoubtedly the disciples kept a constant watch, looking for Jesus to return any day.
Sometimes I wonder about all the many Christians down through the centuries that have kept watch for Jesus, and did not live to see him return. Often it must have seemed like a futile and frustrating effort for them to watch for his long anticipated coming.
Jesus compared his return to the appearance of a thief in the middle of the night. Nobody knows just when a thief will strike, but everybody takes measures to guard against thievery. Watching for the return of Jesus is a hopeful endeavor however. Watching carries with it a spirit of expectation and readiness.
Matthew 24:42-44 Watch therefore: for ye know not the hour that your Lord doth come.
But know this, that if the good man of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and not sufferred his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready; for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of Man cometh.
Among the last instructions Jesus gave to all of his followers was an emphatic exhortation to keep watch for his coming. Any bridegroom would relish in the hope that his bride would be ever watching with an exuberant longing for his appearance. Jesus command to watch is a directive to be ready to leave when he at long last does indeed appear. Any hesitation of the bride to watch only reflects a contentedness of heart within the bride to remain away from her first love.
Watching for Jesus is a labor of love! After describing the end-time events in the Olivet discourse, Jesus remarks to the disciples with the following statement:
Mark 13:34-37 For the Son of Man (Jesus) is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to Watch.
Watch ye therefore; for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at cockcrowing, or in the morning;
Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, "WATCH"!
Why does Jesus want us to watch? He just advised that we don't know the hour at which he may come. Yet he had utilized the entire Olivet Discourse here in Mark 13, Matthew 24, and in Luke 21 to indicate to us the approaching day when he would return.
One reason is that his coming shall take place in two distinct and separate phases. These two ventures have entirely different purposes. The first coming of Jesus is a "parasouia" styled mission. This occasion is described in the Bible as his coming, "like a thief in the night". It is this particular event that Jesus advises us to "keep watch" for.
The parable of the ten virgins given by Jesus in Matthew 25 describe this "thief in the night" event adequately enough. There, five of the young virgins have maintained a vigil of watchfulness by keeping their lamps burning brightly at the midnight hour.
The midnight hour symbolizes the epic hour at which the Bridegroom (Jesus) shall come. The oil in the lamps symbolizes the Holy Spirit fueling the sense of watchfulness in the wise virgins. Contrastly the five virgins who did not maintain oil permitted their lamps to be darkened at the midnight hour, leaving them unprepared for the sudden sound of the cry to come out to meet the bridegroom. Thusly the Lord announced, "I know you not"! Their state of slumber reveals the fact that they were not ready to meet the Lord at all.
A Falling Away from the first-love permits the environment for a slow gradual decline into a state of slumberness which simply is not conducive for the duty of Watching for the return of Jesus! This is exactly the kind of condition that Jesus warned us would prevail just before he comes back, thus he issued numerous commendations for blessings for those that watch for his return. I have never seen a lost person watching for Jesus to return. Yet I've also seen many Christians likewise that do not watch for his return.