Jesus said, “Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back … If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’ ” (Mark 13:33-37)
During the warm months of the year, ice cream trucks can be heard winding down the streets. Perhaps you’ve heard their familiar jingle coming down your street.
If you have young children, ice cream trucks pose a couple of challenges. First, you must watch for the truck in your neighborhood so you don’t miss it and disappoint your kids. Second, you have to keep alert for the danger that the truck poses. If your child runs out into the street after an ice cream truck, the results could be deadly. Keep alert! Watch!
God also tells us to keep watch. Once Jesus told a story that explained the meaning of God’s command to stay alert. He described a wealthy man heading away from his home on a journey. He has an order for the doorkeeper, “Stay alert!” The man at the gate must keep watching because he doesn’t know when the owner of the house will return.
In the same way, we don’t know when Jesus will come back from heaven. When he does, he is going to welcome those who are prepared for him. How do we prepare for his return? The one thing that prepares us for Jesus is faith. And faith comes by hearing and learning the good news of the salvation that Jesus accomplished for us.
Jesus came to die for the sinful things we have done. If you saw a neighbor’s child zooming heedlessly into the street, would you send your son into the street to get in the way of the oncoming ice cream truck—dooming your son, to save the other child?
What if that child had regularly disrespected you? Would you give up your own son for such a defiant one? God did. He had his holy Son die in place of those who have disobeyed him—all of us. When he successfully completed the work of salvation, Jesus returned to heaven. He promised that one day he will return to take all of his believers home with him.
Watch! Jesus is coming. To ignore his Word and live in unbelief will result in a horrid separation from God. Keep alert! Waiting for him in faith brings a luscious treat that couldn’t be cooler or sweeter.