The Mystery of Time
Reading: Mark 13 vs 28-37
28 “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near.
29 Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door. 30 I tell you the truth: this generation (‘race’)will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.
31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
32 “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Be on guard! Be alert (and pray). You do not know when that time will come. 34 It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.
35 “Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening or at midnight or when the rooster crows or at dawn. 36 If he comes suddenly do not let him find you sleeping. 37 What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’ “
Do you remember the poster… Coming soon! It was for the film ‘Ghostbusters’
Time is a strange thing. It seems to go quickly (when you are enjoying things)… and slowly (when you are not!)
- Einstein once said that an hour is like a minute when you’re with someone you love… but a minute feels like an hour when you’re bored!
- Some young drivers tear around to get from A to B… then hang around bored when they get there!
- KILLING TIME… what a terrible expression …actually, it can’t be killed…it just goes on and on remorselessly… unstoppable!
The Bible says ‘make the most of every opportunity’ and ‘now is the accepted time; today is the day of salvation’… Time matters!
And as you get older, the passage of time seems to alter …
- When you were seven years old a week was endless (especially in the run-up to a special event such as a birthday)…
- As a seventeen year-old time is divided into “fun” and “boring”!
- As a 70 year-old time goes so fast it’s hard to remember the year, let alone the day of the week!
You may know the saying: Yesterday is history; tomorrow’s a mystery; today is a gift, so it’s called ‘the present’
I was interested to hear that there is a movement called the Slow Food movement…as opposed to ‘fast food’ outlets…to enjoy your food instead of stuffing it down your throat!
It’s interesting that for some people alive today, their grandparents’ grandparents were born around the time of the Battle of Waterloo in 1815
- And your grandchildren’s grandchildren may well be born around the year 2115!
- In fact, some children born today will undoubtedly live into the 22nd century… long after the rest of us have died
One thing is for sure…GOD IS THE MASTER OF TIME… he’s the real Doctor Who, the genuine Time Lord
- God can make time stand still…or go forward or backwards… He can and does change the course of history
So we must be careful in making plans that exclude God…and not to say “tomorrow we will do such and such” but rather: “If the Lord wills, tomorrow we will…” We offer Him our plans for His approval and overruling
Jesus spoke about the foolish farmer who was so sure of his own adequacy that he forgot that God always has the final word
- Sometimes events seem to challenge that view when bad people prosper…but as the Psalmist writes: “I saw their destiny, then I understood” (Psalm 92)
I’ve heard numerous people say that their faith “is in myself”… self-belief…
- Well, at one level it’s good to be confident… But ultimately our confidence should be in the Lord
We should say: “If the Lord wills”, not because we are fatalists… with everything fixed in place…but partners with God in determining events
- It’s a big responsibility if we accept it
Christians should not have a horoscope mentality…otherwise what would be the purpose of prayer and petitions? And what about personal freedom to decide for ourselves
HOWEVER…there are some things that are determined by God in advance, which are, as far as we can understand them, fixed events… though perhaps the timing of them might be changed
So in Galatians 4 v 4 we read that when the time had fully come, Christ came to this earth as a man (the Incarnation).
- The time we now call Christmas was not a random occasion… but God exercising His divine will and purpose
AND JUST AS THE SON OF GOD CAME ONCE ‘at just the right time’…so He died for sinners ‘at just the right time’ and He will come again…GUESS WHEN? (at just the right time)
- When will that be? No one knows, though we are given some clues
As we approach Christmas…that will come and go as quickly as all the others… let’s remember that our lives should be lived in the light of His coming …and coming AGAIN
- Crucially, the way that we respond to His first coming will affect the way that we react at His Second Coming! With joy and expectation or disinterest…
If we treat Christmas casually or as ‘something for the kids’ or ‘time off from work’… if we fail to see that Christmas is about Christ the Saviour, we shall miss out on the purpose for His coming, both first time and second time
Christ did not come to Bethlehem, of course, so that we could enjoy Father Christmas, fairy lights and presents!
Christmas is a reminder that God loved the world so much that He gave His only begotten Son
- Someone has said: “Live as if Jesus died yesterday, rose today and is coming again tomorrow”
- Christmas should be a life-changing event
… Because it points to the Cross of Calvary
- Christ came as a baby to be the perfect sacrifice for sin
- We need to live carefully and wisely because no-one knows when Jesus will come again…perhaps tonight…perhaps in a thousand years…
Prior to the events at Bethlehem, the people who lived at that time didn’t know when the first coming of the Messiah would happen … but we do now!
- And people living today (us!) don’t know when the second coming will happen…except that they it will happen!
- We get so excited when we think about the first Christmas… let’s get just as excited about the second one!
For even if we have died by then, the Bible tells us that for those who love Jesus Christ as Saviour, there is a sure and certain hope… NOT A HOPELESS END…BUT AN ENDLESS HOPE
For “when the time had fully come” Christ came as a tiny baby
- And “when the time has fully come” Christ will return…to take His rightful place as supreme ruler
However, we don’t have to wait for the “right time” to accept Jesus Christ as Lord of our lives…Today is the ‘right time’… today is the day of salvation
Christmas comes and passes … but the Christ of Christmas promises to reside in our hearts and lives for now and eternity if we invite Him to…
THIS IS ONE DECISION THAT CAN’T WAIT!