“Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door”.
Mk 13:29 NIV
There are some nervous people who are always looking for, and finding, problems. One family convinced themselves that their house was haunted. The slightest sound at night and the whole family was soon wide awake, looking for ghosts. As soon as it was possible, they moved to another house. Others seem to have an ear for bad news. Whenever you see them, they start “Have you heard about…?” they hear about accidents and disasters more than anyone else, but seldom good news.
Jesus was not a scaremonger. If anything, he was the opposite. One of his commonest sayings was, “Fear not”. But he knew that the widely used apocalyptic thinking of his day was a source of plenty of speculation about dates and times for God to act. Just as some people do today, some in those days made a hobby out of working out the date of the end of the world.
Still he wanted people to be awake to the unpredictability of God’s workings. He knew that the coming – or coming again – of the Messiah could happen at any time. So he told them to be wide awake. If they were awake to God, they would be attuned to him when he wanted them to do some ministry. It would mean also that they would be looking and listening for God in any and every situation, not to sound alarm bells and get everyone into a panic, but to be alert to God’s every command, and to be ready to serve him or other people at a moment’s notice.
Lord, help me to be ready to obey your instant command.