Todays readings.. 1 Chronicles 7, Ezekiel 20, Luke 17
We wonder why the Pharisees asked Jesus “when the kingdom of God would come?” [Luke 17 v.20] The reply of Jesus implies they were interested to know what “signs” would indicate its approach. How did Jesus reply? “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed.” Shortly after he warned his disciples, “they will say to you, ‘Look, there’ or ‘Look here!’ do not go out and follow them.” [v.23]. We have seen some people gathering in expectation on a certain day which their leaders were predicting!
It will be impossible to miss the fact that Christ has returned, for as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to another, so will the Son of Man be in his day,” [v.24]. Jesus then compares that day to the days of Noah. Life was proceeding as normal, people were “eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark” [v.27].
Noah is described by Peter as a preacher, “a herald of righteousness”(2 Pet. 2 v.5] but they ignored him, although they must have marvelled (scoffed?) at the massive ark he and his sons were building! Maybe some helped – especially if there were wages to be had. Many make money printing and selling Bibles today! Maybe some thought, if what he says proves to right, we will get on board when it rains with no sign of stopping.
Notice what it says in Genesis about “the day” of the flood. Life was proceeding as normal. Nothing happened the day Noah entered the ark and the door was shut! “Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him went into the ark … and after seven days the waters of the flood came upon the earth.” [7 v.6,10] We can compare this with the blunt comment of Jesus in Luke, “Remember Lot’s wife” [v.32] It was too late when the floods were rising – the door to the Ark was shut.
Ponder the threefold comment Jesus makes about “One will be taken and the other left” [v.35]. Human instincts toward self-preservation will be of no avail on that day, only those with “the full assurance of faith” [Heb.10 v.22] will be ready when the angels come as lightning lights up the sky. This may be literal, or it could be symbolic of dramatic events beyond human imagining. We watch present world events with increasing awe! The political actions are becoming more unpredictable. In addition to this, weather extremes and seismic activity with earthquakes and the threat of volcanic eruptions are adding to the worries of the world.
Finally we ponder the warning recorded in Hebrews ch. 10 (from v.25) of the need to redouble our efforts to lead Christ-like lives “all the more as you see the Day drawing near. For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire …” It will be too late to change when “as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky.”