Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back — whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone:Watch!Mark 13:35-37
Jesus gathers up all the intervening time between His first and second comings and divides it into four watches—one long night of the world's sin—and He says,
You don't know (and, I think He implies, I don't know
) whether the coming is to be early in that time or in the middle of it, or three-quarters of the way through, or clear at the end. No one knows. I don't know; you don't know. But it is like a man going on a journey (here He likens it to His own going away) who gives his servants work to do, and he expects them to do it. And he sets a doorkeeper to watch.
What is he to watch for? Is he to watch for the master's return? That is the way this is usually interpreted. But that is not it, for he is to start watching as soon as the master leaves. He knows the master will not be back right away. What then is he to watch for? He is to watch so that no one can deceive him and gain entrance into the house and wreck and ruin and rob all the master has. So Jesus' word is,
Be alert; don't go to sleep; watch! There are temptations and pressures that will assault you to make you think that it is all a lie, to make you give up and stop living like a Christian, stop walking in faith, stop believing the truth of God. Watch out for that. And in the meantime, do your work. Don't let anything turn you aside. Don't let anything derail you from being what God wants you to be in this day and age. This is the way you watch. We are not to be looking up into the sky all the time, waiting for His coming. That will happen when He is ready. We are to watch that we are not deceived.
I have been disturbed at how many Christians seem to have fallen away. I look back across many years of ministry, and I see men whom I would have sworn were solid, tremendously committed, faithful, Bible-teaching Christians but who are now denying their faith and have turned aside. And on every side, seemingly, this increases—people falling off into immorality and iniquity, turning away from their faith, saying, in effect, they no longer believe the Lord or the Bible. It is this our Lord is warning against.
Therefore, He says that we are to keep awake. Do not believe all the secular voices that tell us the world will go on forever as it is now. Don't believe the other voices that tell us there is no God, so we can live as we please, or that if God exists, He will never judge us. Don't believe the voices that whisper to us constantly and try to turn us away from our faith. With one sharp, arresting, ringing word of command, Jesus ends his message:
Lord, strengthen me and help me to stay alert, that I may endure to the end, that I may be faithful unto death, that I too may join in that great day with those who are given the crown of life.
Do we need to wake up and smell the dangers of complacency and carelessness in our daily walk with God? Why must we be watchful, alert, and above all prayerful?