As Jesus looks ahead to his return, he makes the amazingly strong statement in verse 36, that should forever have prevented anyone from predicting when he was going to return. What does Jesus mean when he says that even the Son does not know the day and hour? Apart from underlining the futility of human prediction—which it surely does—how can it be possible that God the Son has any area of knowledge that is lacking (for part of the definition of God is that he is omniscient)?
I will leave the imponderables to the commentaries, but suffice it to say at this point that God the Son as fully God knew all, but here he showed his submission to the Father’s will as an example to us of humility. However you understand the divinity and humanity of the Son, though, both fully God and fully man, we are met with not just a mystery here, but also a plain teaching. Jesus’ return will come unexpectedly. As in the days of Noah the flood came, like a thief coming in the night. The only sensible response, then, is to be always ready (24:44).
If we are, if we are a “faithful and wise servant” (24:45), then we will be blessed when Jesus returns. If we say to ourselves that Jesus is “delayed” (24:48), and start acting faithlessly, then we will be consigned a place with the hypocrites, that is in hell (24:51). Beware! Watch out! Be faithful.
Too seldom is the return of Christ preached or reflected on these days. If any culture in the world was saying, “My master is delayed,” then the immediate fix, temporary attention span culture of the modern West is saying that. Rather, we are to consider that it is exactly at such moments when we do not expect that he is most likely to return. Watch out! Be faithful. He is coming back—at any moment. And when you least expect him, he will be here. May he find us all faithful when he returns.
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