Matthew 24:36-51 (ESV)

36 “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. 37 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. 42 Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. 45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? 46 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 47 Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. 48 But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ 49 and begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards, 50 the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know 51 and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Jesus addressed the timing of his return with his disciples. He began by teaching that no one knows when he will return. On earth before the flood of Noah, people carried on with regular life and then unexpectedly, the worldwide flood wiped all humanity off the face of the earth except for Noah and his family. It will be the same with the return of Christ. People will be carrying on with regular life, and then unexpectedly, Jesus will be back. In the days of Noah, people were not ready for the judgment of God. When Jesus returns, people again will not be ready for the coming judgment. With that warning, Jesus explained to his followers that they must “Be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” The main point Jesus stressed was that his followers are to always be ready for his return, as no one knows when judgment will arrive. Jesus then used the illustration of a criminal breaking into a home at night. If those who lived in the home knew the thief was coming, they would have stayed awake and been ready for him. There’s no way they could sleep if they knew a criminal was on his way to their home. In the same way, people should always be ready and prepared for Jesus and his return.

Many Christians throughout the years have tried to speculate about when Jesus will return, when the earth will be destroyed, or who the antichrist is or may be.  Although these events are sure to happen, Jesus taught his followers that no one knows. If we did know, we might relax about his return and fail to live like people ready for judgment. And even if the Lord’s return is still hundreds of years away, it doesn’t change the fact that we will all leave this planet. We don’t know when. We could live for fifty more years, fifty more days, or fifty more hours. Only God knows when your existence on earth will come to an end. Listen to the warning of Jesus today. Prepare for your future, but live each day as if it were your last day on earth. Be ready to leave this planet without regret for what you did or didn’t do when you stand before your King.