So Come Lord Jesus
Have you ever experienced a situation or situations in life where you just wished Jesus would step on the scene? Or, after confronting a major trial or test your hope was for the Lord to simply call you home? If you have not, you have possibly known someone who has. Being exiled on the Isle of Patmos, no doubt the Apostle John was living there at the time of the writing of the Book of Revelation. It is in these situations where the heart can boldly cry out “So come Lord Jesus!“.
These four words are the last few words recorded in the Bible’s final book, And the very last four words written right before the book’s ending “grace benediction”. This should tell us something. And it does. What exactly is the Apostle John telling us here? Basically, the phrase is a plea: “Jesus, we desire your presence, are eager for your return, and hope you will not delay. We can hardly wait any longer and will not be disappointed if you come right now!”.
To be confident enough to say that means one thing – you are ready for the Lord’s second return to earth, which is a core theme communicated in The Book of Revelation. Jesus stresses six times in Revelation the urgency of being ready for his Second Coming with his phrase “I come quickly” (Rev 2:5,16, 3:11, 22:7, 12 & 20). Jesus alludes to the critical importance of readiness in these three words. In short, because of the almost mysterious nature of Jesus’ Second Coming, he is implying to “Be Ready“. Be ready all the time and be ready at all times.
There is an underlying theme to this concept of readiness that we can sometimes miss. It is the element of timing. Specifically, our reaction to the timing of Jesus’ return to earth. And there is no better example to illustrate its significance than in one of Jesus’ well-known parables, The Parable of the Ten Virgins.
Timing Come Down to Two Things
Before jumping into the heart of the matter it may be worth mentioning or refreshing our understanding of the definition of the word “parable”. Here is one of the best descriptions of what a parable is: “A parable is an earth-based story that describes or illuminates a heavenly truth”. With that under our belt let’s jump into this.
The Parable of the Ten Virgins is recorded in Matthew chapter 25. Here is a situation where ten virgins are awaiting the arrival of the bridegroom. Jesus alludes their anticipation (Mat 25:1) to the arrival of the kingdom of Heaven, or the Second Coming of Jesus to the earth. As the parable unfolds, we are told five of the virgins are equipped with lamp oil (symbolizing the Holy Spirit) with five of the virgins lacking that oil.
Let’s digress here for a moment. There is nothing more deadly in Satan’s arsenal than his attempts to hinder, suppress and impede God’s mission on earth by blocking the flow of the Holy Ghost through the Body of Christ. For it is the Spirit that energizes the Word of God in one’s life to ignite living faith into action. Okay, let’s move on.
The virgins are then unexpectantly jarred in the middle of the night by the shrill – “Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him” (Mat 25:6). The five wise virgins prepare to take their already lit lanterns to go and meet their bridegroom. To their dismay, the foolish virgins find themselves in a quandary as they have no light source to make that journey. And their attempt to harvest oil from their prepared companions fails.
In the end, the foolish virgins arrive too late and are rejected from entering the marriage banquet. And again, we hear the familiar words of Jesus: “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh” (Mat 25:13). What was one key differentiator (other than preparation) that determined the final outcome of the two groups of virgins? The answer is – timing.
For the wise virgins timing meant absolutely nothing. They were ready and prepared at all times. It was inconsequential to those virgins if the bridegroom came at midnight, 4am, 9am, a week later, six months later, or six decades later. The timing simply did not matter to them.
This was not the case for the foolish virgins. Because timing meant everything to them. Their marriage (salvation) hinged on them either being called to the marriage banquet in the middle of the day or by perchance, they happened to have lantern oil on the night the marriage cry was made. Depending on the timing, they would either be saved or find themselves facing God’s judgment (Mat 25:12). In the final scheme of things, timing will either mean nothing or timing will mean everything at the Second Coming of Jesus!
The Right Mind, At All Times
To continue on this thought of timing, let’s turn our attention to how it not only impacted the lives of Jesus’ parents but also everyone who would read Luke’s account of Jesus’ initiation to the Temple at Jerusalem. There are two people recorded in the New Testament that have always stood out as personifying what it means to be consistently ready and zealously cognizant of the time in which one lives. Furthermore, given the role they would play in the Saviour’s introduction into the Jewish faith system, it was critical that their reaction to God’s timing be perfect. They are Simeon and the prophetess Anna.
We are introduced to Simeon in Luke chapter 2 (vs 25-32). No other account of his life is recorded in the Bible. He was simply a man described as “just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel:” who God had chosen to reveal the Messiah to before he died (Luk 2:26). Another aspect of Simeon’s life is given to us. He was sensitive to God’s Spirit and yielded in obedience to the spirit’s leading:
And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, Luke 2:27
Is that not all that God really needs to advance his Kingdom, willing and obedient vessels? Apparently, it was all that Simeon needed for the Lord to use him. The Lord chose this common man to prophetically announce Jesus’ Messianic role as the Savior of the world (Luk 2:28-35) as Joseph and Mary brought him to the temple. What a profound mission God called Simeon to fulfill. Since he was queued into God’s spirit it did not matter to him when the Lord prompted him to visit the temple. Simeon was ready.
Another humble and nondescript person used at this same instance in time was Anna the prophetess. We read about Anna in Luke 2:36-38. What was exemplary about her life? She devoted her entire life to temple service, night and day, with prayers and fasting:
And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day Luke 2:37
Now that is living a life of total dedication to God. One could say Anna and Simeon had the right mind, all the time. God’s timing was immaterial to them because they were perpetually tuned into their faith in God’s word and the leading of the Spirit. Notice that they both arrived at the Temple exactly at the right time. That was not coincidental. Nothing happens happenstance in God’s kingdom. And nothing happens without prayer, fasting and sincere devotion to God’s work on earth. It just cannot be done any other way. The Bible gives us real examples through the lives of Simeon and Anna that that is how God operates.
Time Remains to Get Ready
God is faithful, merciful, longsuffering, gracious, loving, and passionate about His church. Jesus’ primary mission on earth was to destroy the works of the devil (death – I Joh 3:8) and to bring salvation to lost humanity. You might ask: “What does all that mean?” It means that until Jesus returns, there is still time to find lamp oil, become a wise steward and be a useful vessel for God to use in these endtimes we are living in. The Lord is forever bidding for people to come to the soon marriage supper of the Lamb (Joel 2:28; Luk 14:23; Rev 22:7).
If you find yourself under the weight of the “spirit of the age” or incapacitated by past abuse, failures, mistakes, shortcomings or sins, bring them to Jesus who is both ready and willing to hear your sincere prayer and give you the strength you need in your day of trouble! (Psa 37:39, 46:1)
Refuse to quit. Your breakthrough is just one prayer away. And with God, His timing is always perfect. Be ready for it!
Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Matthew 24:44