“Does anybody really know what time it is?”

The Parables of Jesus

March 7, 2022

“Does anybody really know what time it is?”

Mark 13:35-48

Nowadays it’s next to impossible not to know what time it is. Everyone has cell phones, and the time is on the screen for you to see. Years ago, most of us had to rely on wearing a watch to know what time it was, unless there was a wall clock, or you had the luxury of having one on the dashboard of your car.

As a species, the human race has time down to a science. We know when the sun will rise and set, there is a scheduled time to start work and go home, and we turn the timer on our oven to cook and bake. Of course, we all know what time our favorite television shows are on.

We seem to have an excellent handle on time. The baseball season begins in March, football in August, and basketball in October. Dad gets home from work at 6 p.m., mom has dinner on the table at 6:15 😊, the kids go to bed a 9 p.m., and Jesus is coming back ……

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As much as we seem to have a handle on time, people continue to be late. We are late for appointments and meetings, burn our dinner, even though we’ve set a timer, and have every excuse in the world for being late to class or work.

In the 1970s, the group Chicago had a pop song called, “Does anybody really know what time it is.” The following line of the song speaks to many people’s attitudes about time. “Does anybody really care?”

Today’s devotion concerns the second coming of Jesus and how we need to be ready for His arrival. The Bible says that no one knows the date or time of His arrival. Yet, Jesus tells us to be prepared, to be “Watchful,” for His return. Sometimes I wonder, “Does anybody really care?”

Let’s take a look at the passage about watchfulness from the Gospel of Luke.

“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet so that when he comes and knocks, they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table, and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

Peter asked, “Lord, are you telling this parable to us or to everyone?”

The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns.

Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the other servants, both men, and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him, and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.

 “The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Luke 12:35-48

In the passage above from Luke, there are three short parables. At first, it may seem that the stories are aimed only at Jesus’ disciples, who were present at the time.

Peter asked, “Lord, are you telling this parable to us or to everyone?”

To a certain extent, this may be true. But as believers, we are all disciples of Jesus, so this law-oriented passage is meant for all who believe.

It boils down to this.

“You also must be ready because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

Jesus tells us to be watchful. The word watchful can be defined by being alert or attentive, which Jesus tells the disciples they should be. But, it also means to be vigilant. We, as Christ’s disciples, need to make ourselves ready for His coming by “being diligently employed in God’s service Like servants who are always prepared for the master’s return.” (New Bible Commentary, 21st-century edition, pp. 1002).

As I said in a previous devotion, “We must always be about the Master’s work.” That work is spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ, serving others, giving to the needy, and being empathetic to the problems of others.

There are times I wonder about myself and my fellow servants around me. Do we care enough? Are we waiting and doing the Lord’s work as he asked us to? Or is today and tomorrow just another day?

1 Thessalonians 5:2 says, “You know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.”

So, the question is, are you and I ready for the day and hour our Savior will return?

“Does anybody know what time it is; does anybody care?”

Lord Jesus. We know You will one day return to judge the living and the dead. Therefore, we ask that your Holy Spirit helps us to be ready at all times, as we remain watchful and vigilant in the work you have put before us. Amen.

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