Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. Matthew 24:42
The halted hands of a pocket watch in a library’s archives at the University of North Carolina tell a harrowing tale. They mark the exact moment (8:19 and 56 seconds) the watch’s owner Elisha Mitchell slipped and fell to his death at a waterfall in the Appalachian Mountains on the morning of June 27, 1857.
Mitchell, a professor at the university, was gathering data to defend his (correct) claim that the peak he was on—which now bears his name, Mount Mitchell—was the highest one east of the Mississippi. His grave is located at the mountain’s summit, not far from where he fell.
As I ascended that mountain peak recently, I reflected on Mitchell’s story and my own mortality and how each of us has only so much time. And I pondered Jesus’ words about His return as He spoke to His disciples on the Mount of Olives: “So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him” (Matthew 24:44).
Jesus clearly indicates that none of us knows either the moment He’ll return and establish His kingdom forever or when He may summon us to leave this world and come to Him. But He tells us to be prepared and “keep watch” (v. 42).
Tick . . . tick . . . The “clockwork” of our lives is still in motion—but for how long? May we live our moments in love with our merciful Savior, waiting and working for Him.
How are you preparing to meet Jesus? What do you look forward to the most about being with Him?
Loving Savior, please help me to be ready to meet You at any time. Help me to serve You and prepare for Your return today.
Matthew’s gospel, written primarily to a Jewish audience, is built around Jesus’ five major teaching discourses (chs. 5–7, 10, 13, 18–20, 24–25). Today’s passage is part of the last one, known as the Olivet Discourse because it took place on the Mount of Olives. It’s the most eschatological (related to the end times) of these five messages. One of the interesting side points is that it’s the only time when Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, is included with Jesus’ so-called “inner circle” of Peter, James, and John (see Mark 13:3). This is ironic because Andrew was one of the first two disciples to follow Christ (John 1:40–41). Yet he wasn’t usually included with the other three in their private times with Him—such as at the raising of Jairus’ daughter (Mark 5:37), at the transfiguration (9:2–13), and in the inner sanctum of Gethsemane (14:33). Andrew is included only in Christ’s teaching at the Mount of Olives.