The church has often been obsessed with questions about Jesus’ return. We search for clues as to where and when. Jesus now corrects many misunderstandings about the coming of the kingdom. He reminds the people that the real issue is not “when” it will come, but “who” will bring it in. The answer is Jesus himself, who is standing in their midst (v. 21).
Jesus now describes the character of His coming. First, there will be no ambiguity about the coming of the Son of Man. At His first coming, Jesus arrived almost unnoticed in a humble Galilean village. People were unsure and asked, “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother called Mary?” (Matthew 13:55). Next time, the coming of Jesus will be unmistakable. It will be worldwide, sudden, and inescapable (v. 24). Just as the hovering of vultures tells you that death is nearby, so just as certainly the coming of the Son of Man will announce that the time for judgment has come (v. 37).
Jesus then tells His disciples that the coming of the Son of Man will be sudden. In the days of Noah and Sodom, judgment came when the wicked did not expect it. There were two kinds of people going about their daily routines of sleeping, eating, drinking, marrying, buying, and selling. Outwardly they looked the same, doing the same things, but one was ready for the coming judgment and one was not.
What was the difference between the two people? “Remember Lot’s wife” (v. 32). Lot and his wife lived in Sodom and spent their days doing similar activities. However, unlike his wife, while Lot lived in Sodom, Sodom did not live in him. Peter says that Lot “was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard” (2 Peter 2:8).
In other words, those who are not prepared for Jesus’ coming are those who try to “keep their life” (v. 33). This life is more important to them than the life to come. While their daily activities look the same, those who are ready for the coming of Jesus have a very different focus and commitment.
Jesus’ return will be swift and surprising. How can we ensure that His coming does not catch us unprepared?
What part does the expectation of Jesus’ second coming play in your life? How do you think you might live differently if you were waiting daily for His return?