Jesus reveals that no one knows when the kingdom of God is coming.
Luke 17:20-37 – Focus on verse 25
20 Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, ‘The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, 21 nor will people say, “Here it is,” or “There it is,” because the kingdom of God is in your midst.’
22 Then he said to his disciples, ‘The time is coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. 23 People will tell you, “There he is!” or “Here he is!” Do not go running off after them. 24 For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other. 25 But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.
26 ‘Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. 27 People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all.
28 ‘It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. 29 But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulphur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.
30 ‘It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. 31 On that day no one who is on the housetop, with possessions inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything. 32 Remember Lot’s wife!33 Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it. 34 I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. 35 Two women will be grinding corn together; one will be taken and the other left.’
37 ‘Where, Lord?’ they asked.
He replied, ‘Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather.’
Different people call it different things – the Rapture, the Apocalypse, the End Times. The enigmatic day, sometime in the future, when Jesus returns. Often it can feel pretty far from reality. Every now and then, someone comes out of the woodwork claiming that they know when the day will come. They’ve revealed the secret number by adding up all the measurements of the tabernacle, or something like that.
But according to Jesus, this is the sort of knowledge we shouldn’t be grasping for. It purposefully isn’t revealed to us. When the day comes, we can’t hold onto anything – not possessions or any other earthly thing.
In the Gospels we see lots of people do it – John the Baptist lives out in the wilderness, the disciples leave their fishing boats and their livelihood, and later they also leave behind their purses when Jesus sends them out before him. What would it be like to truly drop everything and follow Jesus?
Jesus shows in verse 25 why we can be such confident followers of him; he suffered many things and was rejected by his generation. He did that for us at the cross to reconcile us to God. His resurrection also guarantees his victory over sin and death which allows us to look forward to his return with patience and confidence.
Head: How much do you think about Jesus’ return?
Heart: Where is your heart when you are eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building?
Hands: What do you think Jesus means when he says, ‘Whoever loses their life will preserve it?’
Lord, we know you choose to reveal things to us. And other things you choose to keep hidden. Help us to not be anxious about the coming of your kingdom, help us not to grasp for things we don’t need, and help us not to run off after false promises of the future. Help us to look forward to your son’s return. Amen.
A song to listen to: See the Man
Living Church Creek Road