Jesus warned us that before He shows up, there would be imposters that would precede Him:
“The days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. And they will say to you, ‘Look, there!’ or ‘Look here!’ Do not go out or follow them! For as lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day.” Lk. 17:22 – 24. ESV
The Son of God knows we will long for our Savior’s return, making us vulnerable to the false claims of others who profess to be the Messiah, or, at least pretend to know His whereabouts.
Moreover, Jesus is stressing the fact that His return will be global in its impact. And, it will unfortunately catch many by surprise:
“And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will also be in the days of the Son of Man. They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise as it was in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.” Lk. 17:26 – 30. NKJV
We have to be ready for Jesus’ return. Furthermore, we have to impart the urgency of accepting Christ to others, instead of leaving them to blindly steep in their ignorance with regards to their eternal disposition. Why? Because that ignorance will lead to their eternal undoing.
When Jesus returns, the jig is up. You’re forever stuck with the ramifications of your decision. When He comes, He’s only ushering His sheep (the children of God) through the gates of heaven:
“On that day, let the one who is on the housetop, with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away, and likewise who is in the field not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife.” Lk. 17:31, 32. ESV
You need to be ready when Christ returns, to have both feet in the kingdom. Jesus will accept no straddling, no fence sitters (like Lot’s wife). You are either with Christ, joined to Him for eternal life and love, or, you become one of those who are ‘left behind’ in the great sifting of all the people who have ever lived:
“I tell you, on that night there will be two in bed; one will be taken and the other will be left. There will be two women grinding at the same place: one will be taken and the other will be left.” Lk. 17:34, 35. NASB
And being ‘left behind’ does not look like a good place to be:
“Where the body is, there also the vultures will be gathered.” Lk. 17:37 NASB
Jesus tells us to persist in prayer as we await for that glorious day. He told a parable that drove this point home. In it, Jesus weaves a story about a widow who suffered an injustice at the hands of an adversary. Distraught, she took her plight to an unbelieving and unjust judge, whose initial response was to ignore her pleas. However, she persistently returned to him again and again until he finally ruled in her favor, just to be rid of her. The point is, that her persistence in seeking a just outcome brought her the desired result. Likewise, God (being the ultimate ‘just’ judge), will not let the persistent prayers of His children go unanswered.
Christ also begs this question of us:
“Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” Lk. 18:8 NKJV
When Jesus returns, there will be many who have given up their faith and hope. That’s why He urges His followers to hold steadfast to theirs.
Jesus also warns us against believing that our ‘self-righteousness’ will gain us access into the kingdom. That path is doomed to failure. Only the true righteousness conferred upon you by Jesus Christ will open those doors.
He illustrates this with another parable, wherein a Pharisee and a tax collector (considered to be the lowest form of scum in the social strata of that era) went to a temple to pray. The Pharisee boasted about his self-righteousness, declaring that he was so much better than all of the sinners around him. The tax collector, on the other hand, would not even raise his eyes towards heaven. Furthermore, he beat his chest and cried out to God, begging Him to have mercy because of His sins. Jesus concludes the parable:
“I tell you that this man went down to his house justified rather than the other, for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Lk. 18:14 NKJV
During Jesus’ travels, He was approached by a rich man who told Him that he keeps the Ten Commandments and wants to know what else He must do to have eternal life. Jesus responds:
“If you wish to be perfect [that is, have the spiritual maturity that accompanies godly character with no moral or ethical deficiencies], go and sell what you have and give [the money] to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me [becoming My disciple, believing and trusting in Me and walking the same path that I walk.]” Mt. 19:21 AMP
Jesus is not telling him to make himself a pauper; He’s revealing his disobedience to the first of the Ten Commandments by making riches his god. Sadly, the man could not part from his possessions and went his own way. He left because in spite of his riches, his soul was stricken with poverty.
Wealthy people are not necessarily wicked. They can enter the kingdom of heaven if they don’t idolize their possessions. Wealth is a blessing from God – both for the possessor and for whom the possessor blesses with his or her wealth to forward the kingdom of God.
Lastly, Jesus leaves us with this:
“And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” Mt. 19:29, 30. NKJV
Jesus is speaking metaphorically. You don’t have to literally leave your house or family to be able to follow Him. You just have to make sure that you don’t make ‘gods’ of them by putting them before Christ. The last sentence in this scripture teaches us that one must serve for the sake of serving and out of a love of God – not for the sake of being rewarded.
Are you ready for the second coming of Christ? You can be. Jesus has just spelled it all out: Don’t follow ‘false shepherds,’ cling to Jesus for you salvation, walk in the word of God to the best of your ability, persist in prayer, nurture your faith and hope, let go of the ways of the world and what it considers righteousness (i.e. self-righteousness), use your abundance for good works and put Jesus first in your life.
If you love Jesus, He has already done the work. Your heavenly gate is wide open…
Goodnight and God bless.