42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
In our Gospel readings for this week, Jesus speaks about the “signs of the End Times” – a topic about which there is a tremendous amount of confusion in our world today. The “signs of the End Times” include signs in nature (famines and earthquakes), in society (wars and rumors of wars), and in the church (false Messiahs and false prophets, persecution, people turning away from the faith, the love of many growing cold, the proclamation of the gospel to the ends of the earth). We do well to note that all the “signs” Jesus speaks of are being fulfilled right now – in other words, we are already living in the “End Times.” These signs are all around us, reminding us that the end of the world is near!
But the reason Jesus tells us about these “signs” isn’t just so we might have an intellectual knowledge of what to expect as the end draws near. These “signs” teach us a crucial spiritual truth: we must be ready for the Savior’s return! Notice how clear Jesus is about the timing of his return: “But about that day or hour no one knows….” (Matthew 34:46). The “signs” are all around us to remind us that the end is near – but we don’t know exactly when the end will be!
So there’s one thing for us to do – we must keep watch! We must be ready! Like the virgins in Jesus parable, we must keep a vigilant watch for the coming of our Bridegroom (Matthew 25:1-13). We will be ready when we’re looking to Jesus in faith, trusting him for the free forgiveness of all our sins. We will be ready as we repent of our sins, turn away from them, and live lives that bring glory to God, our Savior.
The “signs of the End Times” are nothing to be afraid of. They are a gift from Jesus to prepare us for his imminent return. So stay faithful in your daily reading; stay vigilant in your watching; live a life that conforms to God’s commands – and look forward eagerly to the day you hear Jesus say to you, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world” (Matthew 25:34)!