A number of times in the New Testament Jesus is recorded as commanding us to watch. Usually this was in reference to His return for us, His bride. Over the years, and especially in recent months, I have talked with people who took one of three positions regarding this idea of watching and what it means to watch. Some have indicated that they believe they don’t need to watch for Jesus’ return as long as they are living for Him, and others have shared that there isn’t a need to be watching for him now as they don’t believe Jesus will be returning anytime soon but instead 20 to 100+ years from now. And, there is a third group of people who believe Jesus could return at any time and are actively watching for it.
So, what does it mean to “watch”? Perhaps this is why some people take such a relaxed approach to Jesus’ return, not really understanding what it means to “watch”? According to Dictionary.com, the definition of “watch” is;
- to be alertly on the lookout, look attentively, or observe, as to see what comes, is done, or happens:
- to look or wait attentively and expectantly:
- to keep awake, especially for a purpose; remain vigilant, as for protection or safekeeping:
- to look or wait attentively and expectantly for:
- to guard, tend, or oversee, especially for protection or safekeeping:
For those who think that just living for Jesus qualifies as watching for Him, we can clearly see from this definition that this is not the case. Imagine with me for a moment that two people are cruising down the interstate at 70 mph, both of them are in the farthest lane to the left. Both of them are heading to the same destination, maybe a vacation resort of some sort. One of these people are in deep conversation with someone else in the car, listening to some music or intently observing the scenery as they go along. The other person is also talking to someone, listening to the radio or looking at the scenery, but all the while they are paying close attention to the signs along the interstate so at to make sure they don’t miss the exit.
After traveling for several hours and hundreds of miles the second person begins to make their way making one lane change after another until they are in the farthest right lane, yet the first person is still in the fast lane and busy talking to someone and taking in the sights as they go. After a few more minutes the second person activates their turn signal and prepares to exit the interstate, but the first person is oblivious to the fact that they are about to go right past their exit at 70 mph.
The correlation is that the first person is too busy living and enjoying life and not paying any attention to the signs alerting them that their exit is just ahead, but the second person, while they are still living life, are paying close attention to the signs and begin making the necessary preparations to safely exit the interstate when they reach their exit. The first person wasn’t watching at all, or even felt the need to be, but the second person knew that they needed to pay close attention to the signs so as to not miss the exit. Some Christians are too busy living and enjoying life and are not paying attention to the signs all around alerting us to Jesus’ soon and possibly imminent return for His Bride, and that is a dangerous place to be in.
The second group of people don’t feel the need to really be watching and preparing for Jesus’ return because they think it will be another 20 to 100+ years from now before He returns. Many of them like to say that it’s been 2000 years since we were first told He would be returning, and therefore it’s going to be quite a while still before He actually returns. This, also, is a very dangerous view to be embracing. One of the indicators we see in Scripture regarding the last days, which only confirms that we are in that day, is that people would mock or scoff at the idea of Christ returning any time soon. Don’t be one of those who take that position. It’s not going to be worth it!!
Like I said earlier, several times Jesus instructs us to watch, and in Mark 13:37 Jesus commands us with emphasis to “watch!” So, if Jesus is telling us so strongly to be watching for His return, and the signs that point to it, why do so many seem to think that they don’t need to? I know some think that all Christians will go up in the rapture, and because of that they feel secure enough that they don’t see the need to watch for Him, as if they know more than Jesus on the subject. Jesus wasn’t telling the non-believer, those who were not following after Him, to watch, but instead He was telling those of us who are believers and follow after Him to watch. If that is the case, apparently He knows something that many choose to ignore or refuse to believe, and that is not everyone who call themselves Christians or follow after Him will go up in the rapture.
Others seem to think that Jesus will not be returning any time soon, even though they do believe He will one day return. These people are basically sticking their heads into the sand and wanting to think nothing but positive thoughts, listening to teachers and preachers who tickle their ears. These same people are choosing to ignore for one reason or another the signs along the interstate telling them that the exit is just ahead and not as far away as they would like to think. Multiple times Jesus describes these individuals, Christians who believe Jesus won’t return any time soon and live as they choose, as wicked servants. Pretty harsh words, but Jesus is making the point of how foolish it is to embrace such a mindset. Nowhere do we find that Jesus complimented or praised those who didn’t live watching and preparing for His return, but instead He chastised them for believing and acting accordingly.
When we talk of watching for the return of Jesus for His Bride, the church, we also have to remember some other words of Jesus regarding this. In Matthew 24:32-51, Jesus reiterates the need to watch for His return. He indicates that it was the good servant who watched, prepared and guarded his household against the thief’s arrival, but it was an evil servant who did not watch and take the necessary preparations against the thief. Jesus used that illustration to point out that the “good” follower of Jesus will be watching and preparing for His return, and that the “evil” follower of Jesus will not be, and when Jesus returns he will give to the “evil” follower his portion among the hypocrites. This also corresponds with the parable of the 10 virgins who represent 10 Christians. The five wise ones who were waiting and prepared for Him left with Him at His arrival, but the five foolish ones who had not made enough provisions to last until He returned missed Him when He arrived and were later denied access to the wedding.
In Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus tells us not everyone who calls Him Lord will enter into the kingdom of heaven, but only those who do the will of the Father. Some think that just because they said a prayer and go to church they are a shoe-in for heaven, but Jesus doesn’t say that. According to Jesus, what kept some from entering heaven even though they acknowledged Him as their Lord and had an impressive Christian resume was the fact that they did not do the will of God in their life. Instead they lived as they deemed sufficient and appropriate in their sight, practicing lawlessness in the sight of God. Part of God’s will for each and every one of us is that we be watching the signs that point to Jesus’s return and taking the necessary steps in preparation for it, which according to the signs screaming all around us is imminent.
Are you watching? If not, then perhaps you should start, paying close attention to the signs around us that point to His return. Jesus warned us, not the non-believer, of deception in these last days, as well as wolves in sheep’s clothing who deceive us into thinking and believing things that are contradictory to Scripture, ignoring what is said in the Bible regarding the days we are in which will only get worse. An apathetic and complacent attitude and behavior in our relationship and pursuit of Christ, as well as in regards to Jesus’ return, is one of the biggest weapons the enemy of our souls is using to ensnare and trap Christians into. Keep watching and don’t get caught up in the lies of the enemy promoted by wolves in sheep’s clothing, no matter what his or her Biblical credentials or resume may be like.
Are you watching???? Keep watching!!!!