Week 1, Day 3

Day 3: Mark 13:33-37

“Watch! Be alert! For you don’t know when the time is coming.
“It is like a man on a journey, who left his house, gave authority to his servants, gave each one his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to be alert. Therefore be alert, since you don’t know when the master of the house is coming—whether in the evening or at midnight or at the crowing of the rooster or early in the morning. Otherwise, when he comes suddenly he might find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to everyone: Be alert!”

1. Jesus is responding to a question from way back up in Mark 13:4. He has told his disciples that the temple will be destroyed, and they ask “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign when all these things are about to be accomplished?” Jesus responds with a warning: be alert! Not as a matter of fear, but of anticipation. The master has been away from the house, but he is on his way back at any moment! This is a joy for those awaiting him with anticipation, a terrible fear for those awaiting him with none.

2. Jesus is the master of the house. His earthly brother Jude reminds us that it was Christ himself who saved a people for himself out of Egypt. (Jude 5) Jesus was the master of the house- the temple- long before the incarnation. As he was speaking these words he was fulfilling them as the master returned, but who will yet return. As the master, he once gave authority to his servants in the desert of Sinai, but those who did not believe were destroyed (Jude 5). Now he issues a warning to those who will listen: the story isn’t over yet. I am the Master, and I will yet come again to take possession of my House.

3. As members of the family of God and members of his House, we should follow the clear command of the Master: be alert! He has given us authority, work, and the command to be alert. We should be about the business God has given us to do- and with gusto! Ours is not to simply wait for the Master to return. It is to participate in the work God has assigned us in active anticipation of his appearance. We should learn the lesson of the people in the desert: being brought out of bondage does not mean we are faithful servants- keeping our eyes on the soon returning Master keeps us faithful.

4. The Lord is coming soon! The Master of the House has come once and called a new people to himself- one formed of every tribe, nation, and tongue. For those who are faithful the return of the Master is the fulfillment of every dream, every hope. It is the completion of every task. It is the arrival at a home that every longing for home has always pointed us. That we do not know the day of his arrival is less a trial than a surprise. Like a wrapped gift, the fulfillment every human hope and dream awaits only the right time- it will happen. Be alert!