You Do Not Know The Day Or Hour

Here a parable which Jesus taught about His second coming:

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is. It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch. Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning—lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!” (Mark 13:32-37)

There have been many predictions about Jesus’ return since the time of His ascension into heaven. Not surprisingly, every prediction has failed. If Jesus doesn’t know when He will return; how arrogant for men to think they could know.

Not knowing when He will come, it behooves us to be watchful. In fact, Jesus emphasized the need for watchfulness in our text—four times. When we are faced with uncertainty, we should “…watch and pray…” If we will watch and pray it will help us to focus on God and His things rather than the world and the things of the world.

In the parable, a man went away to a distant country, leaving his house in the care of his servants. Each one was expected to do their part, and the doorkeeper was to keep watch for his master’s return. Jesus, our Master, has gone to a distant place—He has ascended to heaven. His household, the church, remains here. Each of us, His servants, have work to do while He is away. We are called to love the Lord, to love our fellow man, and to minister before both. The church has no doorkeeper in the manner mentioned in the parable—each of us are a doorkeeper for ourselves—watching, waiting, and serving.

Again, verse 35 tells us to watch, “…for you do not know when the master of the house is coming.” We can have absolute confidence in His coming, we just don’t know when it will happen. We cannot know the day or week, the month or year when Jesus will come. In fact, we cannot know whether it will be in this century or even in this millennia. We simply do not know, and there are no signs of His coming. Thus, the need to remain alert, the necessity of continually watching.

The watchman in the parable was cautioned to keep watch all the time, “…lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping” (v 36). What could be worse for the watchman than to fail in his duty to watch because he had fallen asleep. A household could be breached and plundered if the watchman fell asleep on his watch. A city could be overthrown and subjugated if those on the city wall fail to keep watch for their enemy approaching.

On the night Jesus was betrayed, He told the apostles they would all be made to stumble. Peter affirmed, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You” (Matthew 26:35). Not much later, Jesus was in the garden with the disciples. Jesus went a stone’s throw from the disciples and prayed to the Father. When He returned, He “…found them asleep, and said to Peter, ’What? Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak’” (Matthew 26:40-41). Watch and pray.

In Mark 13:37, Jesus made a simple but powerful application. “And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!” The Lord said that to us—we need to watch. Like Peter, we need to watch and pray lest we enter temptation. And in anticipation of the Lord’s return, we need to watch and pray, for we know not the day not the hour of His return.

Here is a similar parable found in Luke’s gospel:

Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning; and you yourselves be men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately. Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them. And if he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. (Luke 12:38-40)

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