Monday, November 26, 2007

When will the time come? Matthew 24:36-44

Jesus spoke about a deep mystery as he and his friends walked away from the temple: THE END. There are very few topics as steeped in uncertainty in our world as death. Reading Matthew 24 stirs up two very different ways to think about THE END. The End is both our personal death and the collective end of all things.

First: THE END is personal.
There are books and TV shows about the border between this life and the next. Christians should listen very closely to Jesus words on the subject because he spoke knowing inside information about heaven and hell, immortality and mortality. He knew that "THE END" was coming for himself; and he knows that it comes for each of us. He spoke of people at work taken and others left. He told of some who will meet God living as he wished and other's who will meet God oblivious to His presence and will for their lives. Jesus' imagery is vivid because the truth is that clear. The End will come for each of us at unknown hour.
Perhaps you have seen families left behind in the wake of a catastrophic loss of a loved one. The whole world, as they knew it and imagined it, ended. The End came in flash. They are left with memories and unfinished dreams. The End of life as they knew it came in an accident or disease that claimed the life of a key member of the family.

Second: THE END is coming for us all.
Jesus said there is no time line. He said that, "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven..." We could argue using the most sophisticated logic trying to unpack Jesus' statement in Matthew 24:36 and completely miss the point. Some say that God's unlimited power allows the Father foreknowledge meaning he knows the time when The End will come. Others say that God all power always has the choice to determine the future at any time. We can argue about these and other logical positions; but Jesus isn't entering into a debate here with logicians; he's offering us an inside view of what will come for each of us in time. Be ready he says. The End will come for all. Live ready to meet him; at any hour.

What does this mean?
THE END is real. It is real because we are mortal. It might come for us all at once or it might come for us one at time. That doesn't matter; what matters is the one who we will meet after either we mortals or heaven and earth have passed away.

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