Jesus is coming back.
Does this statement make you nervous or joyful? If you are in Christ, you should have a joyful anticipation in confidence of a glorious eternity. I propose that your joyful anticipation will be proportionate to your readiness for his return.
Matthew 24 and 25 can be summed up in two words, “Be ready.” At the end of Matthew 24 Jesus tells his disciples that no one knows the hour or the day when the Son of Man will return. Jesus further tells them that there are two types of servants (Matthew 24:45-51). There are those who are authentic servants of their master who serve their master well and the master is pleased with them upon his return. There are others who claim to be his servants and yet have nothing to do with serving their master while he is away. They are banking on his delay and desire to live according to the enticements of the world rather than living to please him. The master returns when the wicked servant least expects him, and this servant suffers the ultimate consequence for his hypocrisy. The point that Jesus is making is that when it comes to being in the kingdom of Christ, there is no such thing as delay. We must be ready.
In Chapter 25, the parable of the ten virgins again teaches that five were ready for the bridegroom and five were not. It was too late at the last minute for the five foolish virgins to be ready. Once again Jesus informs us that we should be ready and keep watch for we do not know the hour or the day of his return.
Following the discussion of the ten virgins, Jesus told the parable of the talents. Two of the three master’s servants used the gifts given them to please him upon his return. One foolish servant did nothing to serve his master with the gift he had been given. He lost all that he had been given.
In the whole gospel of Matthew, we are continually pointed to faith in Christ alone as the way of salvation. This section in Matthew 24-25 is not contradictory to this but does point to the fact that the fruit of faith is evidence of a transformed life. There are many who claim Christ but seek to live their life for the kingdom of this world rather than the kingdom of heaven. It is in the remaining section of Matthew 25 that we find that Jesus will one day sort out the true sheep from the goats.
While these chapters may make some readers nervous, their purpose is actually to point the true believer to confidence in joyful anticipation of Jesus’ return. While it is true that many will be found to be false believers who had no real concern for Jesus, we also read of true servants of Christ who will be rewarded with great joy. The faithful in Christ are encouraged toward confident, joyful anticipation in readiness of the return of Christ. We should see these following words leaping from the pages of Matthew 24 and 25.
Mat 24:46-47 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions.
Mat 25:10b …the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut.
Mat 25:21 His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.'
Mat 25:23 His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.' ...
Mat 25:29a For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance
Mat 25:34 Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
Can you even imagine what it will be like to enter the joy of our Master? Let us put our faith in Jesus and let’s live by faith in the Son of God who died for us and loves us. Let’s live today with a desire for our eternity with him. Let’s live with the confident, joyful anticipation of his return. Let’s live with eyes focused on Christ and his kingdom rather than this world that is hurtling toward destruction. Let’s bring as many with us as we can.