#13 ~ Prepared for the Kingdom
(Prepared for the Coming of the Son of Man)
Note: This is a part of the series entitled: The Kingdom of Heaven in Story Form. This series explores the parables of Jesus Christ concerning the Kingdom of Heaven. If you have been following, it seems that the early parables had a “Kingdom Present” feel to them. Here in the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24-25) there is more of a “Kingdom Future” feel to these parables. From what I remember, the questions we discussed made the applicability of these parables quite evident. This study is designed for you to read the Bible passages yourself. So get out your Bible and see what God is teaching us today.
Matthew 24:36-42 ~ Like the days of Noah. Hopefully we all know the story of Noah. The world was so wicked that God had to destroy it. Yet a remnant found grace in His sight. See Hebrews 11:7, I Peter 3:18-22, II Peter 2:5, II Peter 3:3-7. Noah built the ark, gathered animals, then Noah entered the ark. The same day that Noah entered the ark is when the flood came, see also Luke 17:22-37 which also compares the coming of the Son of Man to the days of Lot and the destruction of Sodom. [In Luke 17:22-27 the phrases “when the Kingdom of God should come”, “the days of the Son of Man”, “the Son of Man in His Day”, and “the Son of Man is revealed” are all used interchangeably.] This is what is known as a parallel or a type. Some may call it an allegory or symbolic, but that points to the original story not being genuine, and perhaps not historically occurring and we believe that the flood of Noah happened historically. The coming of the Son of Man will be like the flood of Noah. How will it be like the flood of Noah? The passage explains this. While Noah was building the ark, the rest of the world did everything they normally did. People in general did not understand that the earth was going to be destroyed. Instead of getting onto an ark, what do we see will happen to the rest of the world when Christ comes?
Matthew 24:43-44 ~ Like a thief. Parallel passage in Luke 12:35-40. This is the first reference of several which compares the coming of Christ to a thief, or a thief in the night. Here the emphasis is on being prepared so we are not taken unaware. What is the main command here? If we are ready, will the thief overtake us and take advantage of us? Compare this passage with I Thessalonians 5:1-6. What are the main commands here? Now compare this with II Peter 3:10-14. What are the commands in this passage? Are the terms “Coming of the Son of Man” and “Day of the LORD” comparable terms?
Matthew 24:45-51 ~ The Parable of the Unfaithful Servant. Parallel passage in Luke 12:41-48. There are two different sets of circumstances that are described in relation to when the Lord comes. The first example is in verses 46-47. How does the Master find this servant? What is the reaction of the Master? The second example is in verses 48-51. How does the Master find this servant? What is the reaction of the Master? The lesson here seems to be that the LORD Jesus is going to find your life in a certain way when He comes. What is He going to find? Are you living like He is going to come? We should be living like He could physically walk through the door at any time.
Mark 13:32-37 ~ The Parable of the Doorkeeper. In this parable, there are many servants each with a part to play, but the emphasis is on the doorkeeper. What is the attitude that this particular servant is supposed to have? What command seems to stand out above all the others? What would that equate to in our Christian walk?
Luke 13:22-30 ~ The Parable of the Master of the House. What are the objections of the people who get locked out? To whom is Jesus referring when He speaks of those who get locked out and those who are allowed to come in? The stories that are being shared by the people who are locked out indicate that the Master of the house had been out there with them for significant periods of time. He had spent time with them. He had eaten with them. He had taught them. Despite this time spent, they were not a part of that household. In the context of the current ministry of Jesus, it seems directed toward the unbelieving nation of Israel. As Israelites, they thought they were guaranteed a position in the kingdom, but Jesus is saying they will be locked out. Can you think of people who believe they will be in the kingdom but might be locked out? Or should we not judge others and only ask this question of ourselves?
Matthew 25:1-13 ~ The Parable of the Ten Virgins. This parable is specifically about the Kingdom of Heaven. In some way, the coming of the Son of Man that Jesus described in Matthew 24:4-31 is connected to the Kingdom of Heaven. We have already seen wedding banquet language used in relation to the Kingdom of Heaven. Now it is being compared to a wedding. There are most definitely some traditions and contemporary events to which Jesus is referring. The idea seems to be that a groom could show up to surprise his fiancée, even possibly late at night when it was dark. In these circumstances, the bride to be would sleep with a lamp next to her. But think how foolish it would be if the lamp she had next to her as she slept had no oil in it. In this parable, we have ten virgins who all go out to meet the groom. A virgin should represent someone who is pure. Even though five of these women are pure, they are foolish and unprepared for the coming of the groom. As a result, they are shut out from the Kingdom of Heaven, just like we read in Luke 13:22-30. What would the oil in the lamps represent? Compare Matthew 25:13 with Matthew 24:36. If no man knows the day or the hour of the coming of the Son of Man, does that mean that there are no signs that precede His coming?
Note: Some people use this parable of the ten virgins to teach some pretty odd things. I tried to let the parable speak for itself and not read a whole bunch of things into it. Some people will go back to Jewish wedding traditions and teach for 15 minutes before they even read the actual words of Jesus Christ. That’s not my style.
Matthew 7:21-23 ~ Depart from me. Early in the ministry of Jesus, He had told of this concept of people who thought they would get into the Kingdom of Heaven but would be shut out instead. Notice how Jesus asserts Himself as the LORD who will make the final determination whether people will get into the Kingdom of Heaven or be commanded to depart. What is the objection of people who think they belong in the Kingdom of Heaven?
Living in expectation of the coming of Jesus. Jesus explains the timing of His coming in Matthew 24:4-31, a total of 28 verses. Then Jesus explains how to live in expectation of His coming by teaching a series of parallels and parables in Matthew 24:32-25:46, a total of 66 verses. The main emphasis of Jesus is to be prepared for that coming, no matter when it occurs. Look at the commands again. Learn the parable of the fig tree, Matthew 24:32. Watch, Matthew 24:42, 25:13, Mark 13:33, 35, 37. Be ready, Matthew 24:44, Luke 12:40. Watch and pray, Mark 13:33. Let your lights shine, Luke 12:35. Another that is implied, be in service to your master, Matthew 24:46, Luke 12:43. This theme will be explored next week.
Note: Greek word translated watch or stay awake in Matthew 24:42, 25:13, Mark 13:34, 35, 37 is gregoreuo which means to watch and is derived from the root egeiro which means to arouse from sleep. In Mark 13:33 the Greek word translated watch or stay awake is agrupneo which means to be sleepless, to stay awake, to be ready and is derived from a-hupnos which essentially means no-sleep.
Have fun and stay busy ~ Luke 19:13
-The Orange Mailman
P.S. Remember Jesus is coming back. Watch and be prepared. Don’t let this current pandemic put you to sleep regarding your faith and service to Christ.