If Jesus could use one word to offer encouragement and hope for Christians in today’s world – I suggest it would be this:
Our world lives in its latter days. When Jesus talks about the end times in the gospels, He paints a portrait of calamity and persecution. People will be deceived by false teachers. There will be wars, earthquakes, and famine. Those who publicly proclaim their full trust in Christ will be arrested and beaten. Family members will betray one another. Christians will be fleeing to the mountains for safety and grave concern is given to pregnant women and nursing mothers.
It’s not a pleasant picture.
How could this happen? We live during a time of comfort, convenience and wealth. Technological advances have happened in the past century that would boggle the minds of our great grandparents. The idea of turmoil, homelessness and wide-spread anarchy seems too far-fetched – a type of scenario that only happens on the movie screen.
But life can change in the blink of an eye.
In this fast-moving world, news and information from around the world is transmitted in seconds. And so can our circumstances. Misfortunes can turn much like a thief breaking into a home during the middle of the night. It comes when you least expect it.
For these reasons, Jesus says, “Watch!”
It is a message for believers and for those who have yet to place their trust in Him.
For believers: Watch and do not be tempted or distracted by this world. Watch the signs of the end times and be not afraid.
For unbelievers: Watch, for some day the Rescuer is coming. And by then it will be too late. Listen to the messengers He has commissioned to deliver this message of salvation. For this world as we know it will pass away.
Those who have placed their trust in Christ, recognize that we live in a war-torn wasteland where a spiritual battle wages between the forces of good and evil. We are refugees awaiting that day when the Lord will raise the banner of victory and proclaim true peace on earth. Believers should expect difficulty. They should not be surprised by calamity or even when the battle arrives at our front door.
Another important aspect behind the word “Watch” is that a better day is coming!
We capture glimpses of heaven on earth –the beauty of creation, the love of family, those fleeting moments when our senses are overwhelmed with joy. These are ticklers of what is to come. Earth cannot contain the magnitude of heaven and all its perfection – and neither shall we.
We can’t afford to hold on to them.
So, Jesus lovingly reminds us to be watchful and not allow the storms of fear to overcome our trust in Him.
It’s not easy living in this world. Knowing this full well, Jesus simply tells us to “Watch!”