Lent Day 11: Matthew 23-24

I used to be a Cub Scout. I also joined the Scouts when I was 11 (I’ll be 41 this year, so it was a while ago now!), but I thought it was boring, so I left after a month.

I loved being a Cub, though. We did Cub camp, when I was young enough to think sleeping in a tent was an adventure, not just really cold and uncomfortable. We did loads of activities to earn badges. We played football (well, others played football. I just happened to be on the pitch at the same time as them, being useless.). I even learned to iron and cook baked beans in the Cubs.

One thing I remember from my time is the motto of the Scouting movement.

“Be prepared”

It invites all Cubs and Scouts to make sure that they are physically, mentally and spiritually prepared for anything to happen. If you’re ready for anything then you are ready to meet almost any challenge life has to throw at you. In order to do this, you build your skills and knowledge, as well as constantly being alert and on the look out for anything you may need to react to. You need to be both proactive in your preparation so that you can be reactive in your response.

The same goes for all of us. Jesus is coming back. He is pretty clear about that and he’s pretty clear that we need to make sure we’re ready for him when he comes.

Now, some people try to pre-empt this by scouring the Bible for clues as to when it might happen. They quite passages out of context, find convoluted mathematical equations to give a date and time. Many build followers who buy into these theories (literally. Many make a lot of money out of these predictions), and who are sorely disappointed each time the hour passes… and nothing.

Here’s something else Jesus was pretty clear about,

“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Matthew 24:36 NIV)

Nobody knows when it will happen. Not even him!

If Jesus doesn’t even know, then how are we meant to work it out? Well, we’re not. We are simply meant to be prepared.

Being prepared means listening to what Jesus said, then putting it into action. Look at the “woe unto you” passages in Matthew 23. We should be humble, not boastful in our faith. We should lead others to Him, but not make their lives an unbearable burden when we do. We should give to the Church, but not forget to practice justice, mercy and faithfulness as well otherwise it means nothing. Remember that what’s on the inside is what makes us clean, not the outward appearance we present to others. We must place ourselves under his protection, because trying to make our own way just won’t work.

There’s a lot more to it, but all of these sum up our preparation for the day he comes back. It may happen before I finish writing this. It may finish before you finish reading it. It may not happen for hundreds of years. It is certain that it will happen and, when it does, we will know about it.

So, be prepared. Use Jesus as your teacher. Make sure you can determine his message from the ones your given which are meant to take you away from him, not towards him.

It’s daunting stuff. It’s the most important thing you can do, though.

Be prepared.

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