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Signs to Stay Awake

Devotions

Driving along the Baltimore-Washington Parkway in October, you will see a beautiful sight: most of the foliage begins to change into red, orange, and yellow shades. The stretch of road between the two cities is lined with trees bursting with colors. And when drivers see these autumn colors, they know winter is coming very soon.

When the leaves of the fig tree sprouted and its twigs became tender, it was a sign for Jesus’ audience that summer was drawing near (v. 28). Jesus used the ability to read that physical sign in nature to exhort his hearers to consider signs pointing to His return.

The unique nature of these signs would distinguish them from anyone’s claim to have seen the returned Messiah. Scripture teaches that all celestial bodies will be disturbed by the return of Christ—the sun, moon, and stars (vv. 24–25).

Unlike the predictable signs of the changing seasons, the exact time of the return of Christ is unknown even to Jesus (v. 32)! Only the Father has that date on His calendar. Jesus, in humility, voluntarily choses to leave that date in the mind of the Father alone. In doing so, Jesus lovingly creates a situation in which we must be ready at all times for signs pointing toward His return. We cannot drive down life’s road looking for an annual event that will nudge us to get ready for what’s to come. Instead, we must live in readiness mode at all times, being ever watchful.

Christ’s words about the end times have more permanence than the present heaven and earth. We would do well to heed His words with expectant hearts. This time He is coming with the power and glory of His rule.

Apply the Word

How often do you check your daily calendar? While we cannot check our calendar to know the exact date of Christ’s return, every generation has hoped that Jesus would return in their lifetime. This eager expectancy reflects the promises of our salvation. We are to live each day as if we will see our King in His full glory tomorrow.

BY Eric C. Redmond

Eric C. Redmond serves as an assistant professor of Bible at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and as associate pastor of adult ministries at Calvary Memorial Church in Oak Park, Ill. He is married to Pam and they have five children. He is the author of Where Are All the Brothers? Straight Answers to Mens’ Questions about the Church (Crossway), a commentary on Jonah in the Christ-Centered Exposition Series (B&H Publishers), and a study guide on Ephesians in the Knowing the Bible series (Crossway).

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