Meditation: Has your community or town ever participated
in a grand homecoming party for a celebrated hero or champion who
courageously and selflessly risked all to serve their people and nation
- who risked great odds to protect people from harm and who achieved
great victory over an enemy bent on destroying their land and freedom?
The Lord Jesus promises us a great victory celebration when he returns
again to put down his enemies and to establish his everlasting kingdom
of peace, joy, and righteousness. That day when the Lord Jesus returns
will be joy and peace for those who are prepared to meet him - but
grief and sorrow for those who did not accept him as Lord and ruler of
Jesus will return to establish his everlasting kingdom
Jesus' first coming was a rescue mission - he was sent by the eternal Father in heaven to save us from the tyranny of sin, Satan, and death. Jesus' sacrificial death on the cross and his triumphant victory over the grave won pardon for us and reconciliation with our heavenly Father, and the promise of everlasting life and joy in his kingdom. The Lord Jesus told his disciples on a number of occasions that he would return again at the end of this present age - not simply to rescue us again from our enemies - but as a victor King and Lord who will vindicate all who have believed in him - by releasing us from the curse of death and condemnation and restoring for us the plan he had from the beginning of creation - a new heavens and earth for a people perfectly united with God in peace, joy, and harmony forever. This is the background to Jesus story (parable) about the householder and the thief in the night (Matthew 24:42-51). When the Lord Jesus returns, he doesn't want to find us flirting with the enemy or worse joining forces with enemies who are opposed to God and his kingdom.
Don't let Satan rob you of your heavenly treasure
What does Jesus' parable of the thief in the night teach us about God's kingdom? If you knew that a thief was prowling about and trying to strike your home and threaten your life, wouldn't you seek to protect yourself from harm's way? Jesus' parable of the thief in the night brings home the necessity for watchfulness and being on guard to avert the danger of plunder and destruction, especially under the cover of darkness and secrecy! While no thief would announce his intention in advance, nor the time when he would strike, lack of vigilance would nonetheless invite disaster for those who are unprepared to keep their treasure and their lives secure at all times! The intruder strikes when he is least expected!
Our adversary the devil seeks to rob us of the treasure which the
Lord freely offers us. What is the treasure which the Lord Jesus wants
us to guard lest we lose it? It is the treasure of a personal
relationship with the Lord Jesus himself - who is our greatest gift and
portion in this life. The Scriptures remind us that there is no greater
treasure on earth or in heaven than the Lord himself (Psalm
16:5,11, Job 22:25-26, and Philippians 3:8):
"Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing upon earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever" (Psalm 73:25-26).The Lord Jesus chooses to come and dwell in our hearts through the gift and working of his Holy Spirit. He knocks at the door of our heart and invites us to let him enter (Revelation 3:21). Are you ready to meet the Lord - each and every day?
Should we be surprised to see the master acting with such swift judgment? After all he is only giving back what they have given to him. The master rewards the faithful servant with honor, promotion, and friendship, and he punishes the unfaithful servant - who stole from his master and used his position to abuse others - by removing him from his position of trust with the master and by throwing him into prison for robbing the master and mistreating his fellow servants. The Lord has entrusted each of us with his gifts and grace - the grace to love God with faithfulness, trust, and obedience - and the grace to love our neighbor as our self. Do you love faithfulness?
Always be prepared for your homecoming
The Lord Jesus calls us to be vigilant in watching for his return and to be ready to meet him when he calls us to himself. The Lord gives us his Holy Spirit so that we may have the wisdom, help, and strength we need to turn away from sin to embrace God's way of love, justice, and holiness. The Lord's warning of judgment causes dismay for those who are unprepared, but it brings joyful hope to those who eagerly wait for his return in glory. God's judgment is good news for those who are ready to meet him. Their reward is God himself, the source of all truth, beauty, goodness, love and everlasting life.
“Lord Jesus, you have captured my heart and it is yours. Take my life and all that I possess that I may have you alone as my treasure and joy. Make me strong in faith, steadfast in hope, and generous in love that I may seek to please you in all things and bring you glory.”
This reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager, whose website is located at: http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/