Monday of the Week of Lent II
“For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they did not know until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of man. Then two men will be in the field; one is taken and one is left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one is taken and one is left. Watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the householder had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have watched and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Matthew 24:38-44)
Additional Daily Bible Readings: Genesis 40; Psalm 53; Matthew 24:36–25:13
Weekly Reading: http://bit.ly/2BPwFmP
This passage includes verses 40-41, in some circles referred to as “The Rapture.” This is not a biblical word, but it is used by many who describe Jesus’ return variously as a secret return, a return before or after seven years of tribulation, etc. You can find almost any meaning ascribed to these verses on the internet, most conflicting with other interpretations. While Lutherans have not commonly used this term, or tried to explain Jesus’ return in exact, detailed descriptions, what we agree with is the reality of Jesus’ return. Earlier in this chapter we heard the Lord speak of his coming with power and great glory! He gives the illustration of the one in the field taken and the other left. Then, the example of the two women grinding, and one is taken and the other remains. Jesus’ intention is to highlight the suddenness of his return—and the need for being ready and prepared, whenever he comes. That is the message of this passage, and why Jesus ends by saying, “Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
To help us understand what it means to be ready, Jesus speaks of the faithful or the unfaithful servant and the five wise and five foolish bridesmaids. The message of the ten bridesmaids is clear—that we are to be watching for Jesus at all times, in all ways. We discussed this parable in our Advent devotions. The comparison of the faithful and wise servant and the wicked servant adds to this understanding. Jesus explains the servant will be blessed whom the master, when he returns, finds doing what he is supposed to do!
And this Lenten season, what is it that the Master expects us to be doing? Earlier, we touched on “almsgiving, prayer and fasting” (Matthew 6:1-18). We also are called to love God and love our neighbor (Matthew 22:34-40). It would seem attending to these could occupy a lifetime and have us faithfully “busy” when our master returns! But, is the point to just “look busy”? Of course not. The point is to be about the will and the work of God. The point is to be about love of God and neighbor. The point is to strengthen our faith and trust in God, as we patiently wait for the Lord’s return and the fulfillment of God’s plan. That is our aim during Lent and throughout our lives!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us to watch, wait and be ready when you come. Amen.
Lenten Response: Devote 15 minutes today to be prayerfully, watchfully waiting for Jesus!
Video Devotional: From Ashes to Easter
Today’s devotion was written by the Rev. Dr. David Wendel, Assistant to the Bishop for Ministry and Ecumenism.