Luke 17:20-37 Is It Time Yet?
Jesus gives end of days prophecies to His disciples in our reading today. Oh how I wish I could understand every word He shared here! To truly know what is to come.
I’m surprised by the original questioner in our story today. Luke tells us that the Pharisees were the ones who asked when the Kingdom of God would come. Was this in response to Jesus’ proclamation that the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand? Were they earnestly seeking or were they testing Him again?
Jesus answered their question. He told them that the Kingdom of Heaven wasn’t coming like they were expecting it to. They wouldn’t be seeing a king sitting on his throne. It won’t reside in some geographic location. It is a spiritual Kingdom and is in the middle of them right then. I wonder if they understood. Even Jesus disciples expected the flesh and blood Kingdom. We know they didn’t understand until after Jesus’ resurrection.
When talking with His disciples Jesus says that they will wish for another day walking with Him again. (I know I long for one of those days.) They will even be presented with reports of Him being in various places, but He warns them against believing those reports. He IS coming back, but when He does EVERYONE will know about it. You won’t need to go somewhere to see Him. All will see Him together then.
‘But wait fellas, a few things have to happen first.’ Jesus makes sure His disciples know that there are a few steps in this process of His Kingdom fully coming. First He has to complete what He is doing now. “But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation” (verse 25). His first order of business is to complete the sacrifice. He has to die.
Next Jesus outlines what takes place shortly before His final return. “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the fold came and destroyed them all” (verses 26-27). Before Jesus returns everyone will be about their normal business, but those waiting for Him will be in preparation. Noah was busy getting ready. He was building according to God’s instructions. He was gathering supplies as he was told to. He kept at his task until he was finally told to get aboard the ark. I don’t know how many days it took to load everyone and everything onto that boat, but I’m certain people noticed. They laughed when he started building and they were probably still laughing during the loading process. But just like events Jesus is talking about, GOD chose when to close the door. In closing the door, God removed ALL of His people from the earth. Jesus’ words here speak of a removal of many, but not all of the people. I believe the missing are His children. The rapture of the church.
After God closed the door on the ark, Noah and his family waited. I can almost hear the people outside the ark calling out to him. “Hey Noah, sure is a nice day out here. Too bad you’re stuck in there. Too bad the ocean is so far away. How long are you going to stay in there you old fool?” But Noah just waited. He waited seven days, enduring the jeers of his fellow man. I wonder if some of his family was questioning his predictions too. Did any of them say they wanted out? Seven days. Like the seven years predicted for the Tribulation? Sounds right to me, but I’m not going to preach this as doctrine.
At the end of those seven days, God’s judgement fell. The heavens opened up and the fountains of the deep burst forth. Talk about flash flooding! Those jeers were now cries of fear! The same will be true when Jesus steps out of Heaven. Noah didn’t know the day or hour God would open the heavens any more than we know the day or hour God will open Heaven and let Jesus ride out. Noah listened and was ready. Are you listening? Are you ready? Am I? This is one ride we DON’T want to miss.
So how do we get ready? First of all, surrender your life to Jesus. Believe that He is who He claims to be; the Son of God. (“For God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life” John 3:16.) Recognize that you are not perfect and you have sinned. (“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23.) Ask Him to forgive you of your sins. (“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness” 1 John 1:9.) Thank Him for taking your punishment for sin on Calvary. And from that moment on work on your relationship with Him. Spend time with Him in prayer, reading His word, and living the life He called you to. NO, you won’t do it perfectly. But every time you fall down, reach out and ask Him to help you back up again. NEVER think you have fallen so far He won’t want you back. HE LOVES YOU! He moved Heaven and earth to prove it to you.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you. (Psalm 139:7-12)
Father God, thank You that You have everything in Your hands. Thank You for showing us a glimpse into Your plan. Thank You for Your warnings! Help me to see the signs instead of turning from them as the Pharisees did. I don’t want to miss a thing! Thank You for the opportunity to share Your plan of salvation too. Please help me stay ready; to “stay awake.” I do NOT want to miss the boat.
I truly believe that everyone who has a true relationship with You will be included in Your rapture. You know the hearts of all Your children. Just going to church won’t cut it. Saying you are a Christian mean nothing if the heart isn’t in line with them. There has to be a relationship with the Captain of the ship. Thank You for bringing me into that relationship.