Jesus finally gets back to answering the first part of the question His four closest disciples asked. Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked Jesus when the things He was talking about were going to happen and what sings they should be looking for. Jesus told them a lot about what the end of days will look like, now He will address the when part of their question.
Before we dive in here I want to point out another example of the triune nature of God. When Jesus talks about the hour of His return He states that not even He knows the exact time that will be, BUT God the Father alone knows. Jesus and the Holy Spirit are not privy to this knowledge. This means that there are aspects of God that are not shared among all three. This speaks clearly of three individual identities while still maintaining the understanding that all three individuals are part of the one Godhead.
Ok, back to our story. Jesus tells His disciples that not even He knows exactly when He will be returning again so “be on guard, keep awake.” Jesus is of course referring to spiritual wakefulness, not physical alertness. No one could maintain physical arousal indefinitely but long term spiritual readiness is possible and expected.
Jesus uses another parable to emphasize the importance of being always alert. Jesus uses another story of a master leaving on a journey and leaving his servants behind to care for his property. This time Jesus focuses on the doorman of the master’s home. It is the doorman’s responsibility to make sure there is someone there to greet the master upon his return. He is also tasked with keeping all others out of the master’s home.
It appears to me as if the master of the home is going on a relatively short journey. He sets his servant in place with their duties and specifically tells the doorman to stay awake while he is gone. The doorman is responsible for being ready to assist the master as soon as he arrives back in his own home. If the doorman is sleeping, the master would have to wait to gain entrance to his own home. I have a feeling that what the master is bringing home from his journey is sensitive in nature or could spoil if not cared for promptly. That could be why the doorman has to be accessible immediately.
As I stated before, there is no way to remain physically alert the whole time Jesus is gone. What we can do is pour our heart into our relationship with Jesus. Read His word. Spend time in prayer. Do the work He has set before you. Love His children. All these things maintain and enhance our spiritual health. This is what Jesus is telling us to do so that when the Father finally tells the Son to go bring His people home, he won’t have to wait while we get ready. If we are not ready, we miss Him completely. He will have already done all the waiting He is ever going to do.
Momentary spiritual resting, I don’t believe, won’t keep you from having a part in Heaven but perpetual spiritual sleep will. Momentary rest means taking just a moment to regather yourself or refocusing for the next step. These acts demonstrate a willingness and new resolve to continue moving forward. This is what Jesus is seeking.
Father God, sometimes I feel weary and want to stop for a while, but I NEVER want to quit walking with You. Thank You that You allow me times of rest as well as times where You encourage me to keep walking, even through the hard parts. Thank You that You even carry me sometimes. I can’t imagine this life without You beside me. Please Lord, keep me always alert to Your presence. Help me remain ready at all times. Ready to do the work You have set before me and ready to run into Your arms when You finally call. Keep me alert to the signs You have pointed out so I will have a better understanding of Your approaching return. Please forgive me Lord when I let my physical body dictate my spiritual direction.