I do love my coffee. Or maybe I should tell the truth, and say I like a little coffee with my flavored creamer!
We live in an area of the country where drinking coffee is almost a religion in itself. How it’s made, where the coffee beans are sourced, what temperature it should be when you drink it, what or what not to put in it, and which coffee shop it comes from are all very important dimensions of a single cup of coffee. And there are multiple opportunities each day to have another!
I just can’t get into all those levels of coffee. I’ll take mine homemade (just regular drip, thank you) with lots of sweetened creamer, and be perfectly content. Some days I wake up a little foggier in the head than others, and need a bit more coffee to jump start my day.
But no matter how many cups of coffee I make myself, it can never wake me up and get me on my toes enough for what Jesus means when He says, “Keep alert at all times . . .” (Luke 21:36 NLT). Coffee just won’t cut it!
This alertness can’t be mustered up with a little (or even a lot of) caffeine. Let’s back up and look at the context of this chapter, and find out what’s going on.
Jesus has been telling the disciples about different things that will happen before He returns, “coming on a cloud with power and great glory” (Luke 21:27). There will be terrifying changes in the sun, moon, stars, and ocean tides. When these horrifying events take place, Jesus says to “stand and look up, for your salvation is near!” (Luke 21:28)
Can you picture it? The masses crying out in hysterics while believers everywhere are looking up excitedly, knowing their King is coming?
Which group will you be standing in, my friend?
In the meantime, He warns believers to be vigilant. “Watch out! Don’t let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware, like a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth“ (Luke 21:34-35).
There will be no escaping it. Everyone will see him coming (verse 27)!
As believers in this Advent season, we are looking forward expectantly for Christ’s return. But are we truly ready to see him? How will He find us when he returns? Will he find us faithful? Will we be strong enough to stand before him?
We like to share the positive aspects of our faith, because people like to hear cheerful things! Not too many people will argue with us about the good stuff. I think many of us don’t want to talk about the negative side because we don’t want to offend.
But the Good News is only good for those who believe and obey it.
“He will come with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, bringing judgment on those who don’t know God and on those who refuse to obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with eternal destruction, forever separated from the Lord and from his glorious power. When he comes on that day, he will receive glory from his holy people—praise from all who believe” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10).
How can we be alert and ready?
First, through prayer.
The whole text of Luke 21:36 says this: “Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man.”
Second, believing that God will answer our prayers.
“So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him” (Matthew 7:11).
Third, soaking up the Word of God and listening for His voice to speak to us as we do.
“Every day Jesus went to the Temple to teach, and each evening he returned to spend the night on the Mount of Olives. The crowds gathered at the Temple early each morning to hear him“ (Luke 21:37-38).
Are we as willing to meet with him every day, learning from his teaching?
Fourth, applying the Word of God to our lives and living in obedience to it.
“Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them” (John 14:23).
Do we show him our love through our obedience?
As we celebrate Christ’s birth as a baby, may we remember that his coming return will be much more powerful and glorious! Whether we see that as exciting or terrifying depends on how we respond to him before then. It’s completely up to us!
Stay vigilant, my friends . . .
Thoughts from Luke 21 on December 21
Image by Karolina Grabowska from Pixabay