I recall very vividly a high school teacher who was prone to give what he called “Pop” quizzes. Any time you came into his class might be the time for one. Or it might not. You never knew.
So what if it was “just a quiz.” But no, those POP quizzes counted on a par with the big, important, pre-announced exams. One to one. And they were usually just 10 questions. Not bad if you knew the answers. But if you got 5 right out of 10? That’s a 50 for a mark on the books! A few bad marks when you hadn’t given enough time to your homework could bring your average DOWN. Seriously.
So how could you do well in his class? Only one way: ALWAYS do your homework. Be ready ALL the time.
This is the motto that stands above the driveway at our front entrance. It comes from Jesus, and is relative to His return. Yes, He IS coming, but we don’t know WHEN. So, like the school teacher’s POP quizzes, there is only one way to do well, only way to be prepared for the unknown deadline:
Be Ready ALL the time.
The text is from the Bible, though not a direct quote. The paraphrase is drawn from two passages by Jesus, one in Revelation, and one in Matthew. First,
Rev. 22:7 “Behold, I am coming quickly [suddenly, unexpectedly]. Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”
Add the “ready” command” from
Matt. 24:44 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
And so the paraphrase:
I am coming unexpectedly, so be ready all the time.
For some reason it suited God’s purpose not to reveal the time. Jesus Himself said He had not been told.
Mark 13:32 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
At this time, two millennia later, we can imagine Jesus has been told. Why wouldn’t God have made it known long ago? Isn’t this a strange plan?
Probably the biggest reason is that He wants us to LIVE In EXPECTANCY.
How can we do this? Let’s take our answer from Jesus’ parable of the Expectant Servant in Luke 12.
Luke 12:35–40 “Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning; … and you yourselves be like men who wait for [literally, “to remain with expectancy concerning a future` event; await with confidence, or endurance”—Lexicons]
36 be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding…
Why are the servants waiting for Jesus to “return from the wedding”? Remember, first, that this is a parable, not a literal accounting of events. The terms are symbols of what they represent, and the “wedding” the “master” has been attending suggests an important occasion. If we translate the symbols, Jesus as “master” did go to a far-away place (heaven) for two very significant purposes—1) to be crowned with immortality at the Father’s right hand, and 2) to be vested with authority to take over the earth and be Earth’s King. These are the events He has experienced while away in heaven, and what He will be coming FROM. So the parable reads:
36… be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately.
Notice the returning “master” expects his servants to open the door to him “immediately” when he knocks. No delay. No putting on their best clothes. No finishing the housecleaning. No getting the lamps fueled and burning. Everything must be ready “when he comes and knocks.”
Then Jesus adds:
37Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them.
Jesus is coming TO His people, the believers in covenant, to judge and reward them. And as in the parable the master “serves”, so Jesus will be coming to serve His people.
That is a meal WE don’t want to miss! To be served by Jesus at His table in His kingdom. And what will He be serving? Nothing less than the delicious viands of immortality!
As Jesus said to His disciples at the last supper He ate with them:
Luke 22:29–30 And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
Back to Jesus parable of the Expectant Servants
Luke 12:38 And if he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.
The “second” watch? Or the “third”? He might seem late, but there is NO real delay. As Habakkuk said,
Hab. 2:3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry [literally, it will not be late].
He will be right on time!
The only seeming delay is mercy for us, so that we can get our housecleaning all done before He knocks, and we can open to Him immediately.
Let us recall the advice of Brother Nichols. If we will say then, I need two more weeks to get ready, TAKE those two weeks NOW!
In the words of our motto, Be ready ALL the time.
SAY nothing you would not want to be found saying
WHEN JESUS COMES
DO nothing you would not want to be found doing
WHEN JESUS COMES
GO to no place where you would not want to be found
WHEN JESUS COMES