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Like a Thief in the Night
Bible Passage Matthew 24:29-44
This content is part of a series Bright Morning Reflections, in topic 2023 & books ISAIAH, Matthew.

Like a Thief in the Night

  • Rev. Bright Mawuena Nfodzo
Date preached March 28, 2023

29 “Immediately after the troubles of those days, ‘The sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light, the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of heaven will be shaken loose.’

30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all ‘the tribes of the land will mourn’ when they see ‘the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven’ with power and great glory.

31 He’ll send out his angels with a loud trumpet blast, and they’ll gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to another.”

32 “Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branches become tender and it produces leaves, you know that summer is near.

33 In the same way, when you see all these things, you’ll know that the Son of Man is near, right at the door.

34 I tell all of you with certainty, this generation won’t disappear until these things happen.

35 Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.”

36 “No one knows when that day or hour will come—not the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father,

37 because just as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be when the Son of Man comes.

38 In those days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage right up to the day when Noah went into the ark.

39 They were unaware of what was happening until the flood came and swept all of them away. That’s how it will be when the Son of Man comes.

40 At that time, two people will be in the field. One will be taken, and one will be left behind.

41 Two women will be grinding grain at the mill. One will be taken, and one will be left behind.

42 “So keep on watching, because you don’t know on what day your Lord is coming.

43 But be sure of this: if the owner of the house had known when during the night the thief would be coming, he would have stayed awake and not allowed his house to be broken into.

44 So you, too, must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour you are not expecting him.”

Yesterday, we looked at some troubles that will precede the coming of the Messiah, though those signs are not able to give the specific date on which the Messiah will reappear to judge the world. Some of the signs seemed to have come through already, from the times Jesus made such remarks. For instance the fall of Jerusalem and the desolation of the temple in AD 70. But Jesus did not return at the fall of Jerusalem, nor immediately after. It seems, then, that His prophecy still awaits its greater fulfilment. If that is so, there could be a repeat of conditions such as those during the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, but on a wider scale and with greater intensity. The powers of nature on earth and in space will be thrown into confusion, nations will be in turmoil, and people everywhere will be filled with fear.

The words in this verse 29 come from Isaiah 13:10 and Isaiah 34:4. These signs refer to God’s judgement on Babylon’s people at first and on people from all the nations.

The present age will come to an end as Jesus returns in power and glory to save His own and judge His enemies (verses 29-31). Trumpets, like talking drums, were used to call everyone together. They also warned people about the danger. When God gave the Law on Mount Sinai, the people heard a loud trumpet. Now, Jesus says that the loud trumpet call would be part of this event too. The Lord will come with great pure light so that everyone gives him honour. The Old Testament speaks about a time when God will bring the Jews together. He will bring them from all the places where He has scattered them. In the same way, the Son of Man will send His servants from heaven with His message. They will call Christians together from every part of the world. Then they will all be with Him.

Just as the first leaves on a fig tree indicate that summer is coming, so when the disciples see the false messiahs, the persecution and the approach of the Roman armies, they will know that the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish nation is upon them. People of Jesus’ day would see the fulfilment of these things in their own lifetime (verses 32-35).

As for the day when the Son of man will return in the glory of His kingdom, no one knows when that will be except the Father (Matt 24:36; compare Dan 7:13-14). People will be carrying on their daily business, ignoring God’s warnings just as people did in the days of Noah. But just as the flood was God’s means of judgement on those people, so Jesus’ return will bring judgement on sinners and salvation to His people.

Jesus’ coming will be as unexpected as that of a thief who breaks into a house while the owner is asleep.

🔷 Jesus will come at a specific time that is not known to any of us.

🔷 We must always be prepared for the return of Christ so we are not taken by storm

🔷 There will be no change about the return of the Messiah. Everything will change, but not Jesus’ word.

💥 Pray that you’ll always be ready for Jesus
💥 Pray to be able to endure every hardship

How about if the Lord returns today? Do you have a good account to give? There’s no time to procrastinate. Keep watch and wait.

In series Bright Morning Reflections