Be ready, Advent Sunday, Matthew 24, November 27th 2022

Be ready, Advent Sunday, Matthew 24, November 27th 2022

Advent Sunday, November 27th 2022,

Matthew 24:36-51. Also Psalm 122?

May these spoken words be faithful to the written word and lead us to the Living Word, our Lord, Saviour and Teacher, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Big Picture.

From Advent Sunday – until Trinity Sunday – we are going to focus, in our preaching on the words and works of Jesus in the gospel set for that day. Matthew and John will be the two gospels we will normally focus on.

So in the coming months, we will look at the words of the Lord again in this year of our seventh anniversary. We look forward to all the Lord has to say to us.

Then from mid June roughly, we will preach from the Book of Jeremiah until November.

Secondly we heard from Psalm 122. The Psalms are a tremendous spiritual resource for us. Yet, in a Communion service, in the past we have not used them very much. Of course in our online services, we have read one nearly every Sunday. Psalms inspire our praying, shape it, perhaps give us the words for praise, thanksgiving, lament, confession, intercession… In the coming year, we will hear words of psalms each Sunday – in such a way – that by next Advent Sunday, we will have heard / read a little bit of every psalm.


Matthew 24:  ‘So you must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour, when you not expect him.’ 

Jesus is teaching in response to a question from the disciples. They had said – what an amazing building – or something like that! Jesus replied ‘no one stone will be left standing’. This was a little disturbing I can imagine,

and so they go to him on the Mt of Olives and ask: ‘Tell us when will this happen and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age.’’

Jesus goes on to share many things, and about various signs that will occur.

But then he says: ‘But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven nor the Son but only the Father’.

His return is like the best kept secret ever!

Jesus then says: it will be like in the days of Noah. The days before the flood people ate drank, married, right up until the day he went into the ark, and the rains and floods came and took them away. 

Life was pretty normal. There was a big boat that Noah was building, but other than that,

life continued pretty normal, Jesus said.

There will have been signs and disturbing ones Jesus has said, but on the other hand, the coming of the Messiah will catch people off guard, because life was or had become, pretty normal.

Therefore keep watch – because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.

This point is repeated again and again by Jesus – in these verses.

we can no more predict the date of Christ’s return than the day a thief calls…

the master who will come on a day when the servant does not expect him and at hour he / she is not aware…

and in the parable of the 10 virgins.

The bridegroom arrives at an unexpected time and 5 of the 10 were not ready.

And Jesus teaching point as he finishes that parable – ‘Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.’ Repeating his main point from v36.

Constant Readiness.

What is Jesus asking of us? It is a lot. And it is life shaping.

He is clear – he will return. He is asking for vigilant readiness for the Son of Man’s – his – coming is unpredictable. Jesus speaks to his disciples: the thief – if you knew at what time of night the thief would come, you’d be ready. If you knew when your house was being robbed, you’d be there, ready for him or her…

 So you are to ready just like that – even when you do not know the time, when Jesus, the Son of Man will come. It is Constant readiness.

A NATO website says: ‘’Across Europe, NATO fighter jets are on duty around the clock, ready to scramble in case of suspicious or unannounced flights near the airspace of our Allies.’’ Constant readiness.

‘So you must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.’

What does ready mean? How can we be ready?

Ready – how we live – Matthew 24-25.

Ready is more than an attitude of looking forward, it is shown in how we live.

To describe ‘readiness’. Jesus tells a parable about the servants = the wise and faithful servant who is doing what he is meant to be doing.

In this case – the servant who is meant to feed the other servants – Jesus says : it will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing…

this is compared to the servant who thinks – my Master is staying away a long time and then begins to – do what he wants, not what he is meant to be doing. And the master comes and punishes him.

Note that wicked servant did not begin with doing all the bad stuff – he began focused, and then after sometime, he changed…

The wise servant is the one who remains ready for the Masters return because he remains faithful to the Master’s instructions and honourable in the way they treat others. 

The wicked servant is, faithless to their master’s instructions and destructive in how they treat others.

How you relate the Master and others, is echoed in Jesus words earlier:

Which is the greatest commandment in the Law, he is asked.

‘’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbour as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’’


To be ready – a ready person shows it by how they are living –

loving the Master, as Jesus – if you love me you will obey my commandments.  

To be ready – loving others – honourable like the wise servant,

not destructive and selfish like the wicked servant.

Ready – who you know.

The parable of the ten virgins. Underneath that love for God and love for neighbour, is the key component of what it means to be ready for Jesus return.

The bridegroom has unexpectedly returned and then says to the 5 who did not have enough oil,

‘I don’t know you.’

Those words – ‘I don’t know you’- take us back to Sermon on the Mount. Matthew 7. ‘Not everyone who says to me’ Lord Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven. But only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. He then goes on to say how people will say they prophesy, drove out demons, even performed miracles.’ Then Jesus will say ‘I never knew you.’ False disciples. In name only.

The key: it is not about doing the same as everyone else, (the virgins all had lamps, were all waiting), it is not about intellectual knowledge –  oh that is the bridegroom –

this is about personal knowledge, to be known by Jesus.

It is not about ‘what you know but who you know. It is about a personal relationship with the bridegroom – that is what matters more than anyone else.

How to be ready – do you know Jesus?

Are you in a personal relationship with him? Have you committed your life to him?

Have you asked him to be your Saviour and Lord of your Life?


Constant readiness is acting as faithful disciples are meant to act.

What can love for neighbour look like?

Matthew 25 continues. The parable of the bags of gold – the parable of the talents – the servants have been entrusted and have they been faithful.

V31-46 – come you who are blessed by my father, take your inheritance. ‘for I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was ill and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came and visited me…’  They were faithful.

Faithfulness. Doing what we are expected to be doing.

Be faithful with whatever God has given you. Your skills, gifts, energy, education, intellect, strength, influence, opportunities…be faithful with whatever you have been given.

It is no good wishing that you had been given more. You are simply called to do the best with what you have.

Not to hide what you have, perhaps fearful of failure or what others will think or fearful of the hard work or responsibility involved.  It has been said that that ‘the greatest mistake you could make in life, is to be continually fearing to make one.’ The servants step out and risk all …

Faithfulness, is what we do for the most vulnerable and needy in our world.

The question Jesus focuses on – how are we living? How are we treating fellow vulnerable and needy believers – hungry, thirsty, strangers, needing clothes, ill, in prison. When he says ‘what you did for the least of these brothers and sisters for mine, you did it for me’ suggests Christians believers are the main focus here, but of course, these actions certainly are all part of loving your neighbour.

‘So you must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.’

To be Ready – can be costly

Jesus models the perfect life to us.

What does a faithful wise servant look like – we look at Christ – the servant king.

To follow the instructions of the Master can be costly.

To be in a state of constant readiness can be costly.

Jesus is wise, faithful, loving.

Yet he will face betrayal, he will face accusation, he will face loneliness, he will face violence.

Jesus persevered.

To be ready is to remain faithful to the One who knows us and to live a faithful life.

At times the choices – good, wise ones in the eyes of the Master – may be ones that bring negative reactions to us.  The call is to persevere.

Jesus words to the churches in Revelation.

The churches are in different situations, some are doing well,

others are struggling with sin.

To each set of Christians, Jesus calls on them to ‘overcome’ eg

‘To the one who overcomes, I will grant to eat from the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God. …

‘To the one who overcomes, will not be hurt by the second death. ..

To the one who overcomes will be clothed in white and I will not erase their name from the book of life…’

 Rev 5 says John is told by the elders ‘the Lion that is from the Tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome.’

To be ready takes perserverence.

Can be costly.

Can be demanding when there is more fun things to be done – that wicked servant maybe found it boring or not interesting to do his duties and instead did bunch of other stuff.

Jesus knows what pressure the churches are facing in Turkey, he sees where they are compromising with sin, where they are under persecution, and he calls on them to persevere – to overcome – to be ready  – as he has overcome.


A couple of days later, after that Mt of Olives teaching, it was Maundy Thursday of Holy Week.

There we find two descriptions of how the word ‘ready’ is used:

Mark 14 – when the Passover approaches, two disciples are sent into the city, a man carrying a jar of water meets them, and he will show them, Jesus says, a large room, furnished and ready.

Ready. All is done that can be done.

But the same Greek word is used on the night of the Passover : Luke 22, Peter says ‘Lord I am ready to go with You both to prison and to death!’

Peter thought  he was ready – but he was not…

‘So you must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.’

All is done that can done.

He thought he was ready but he was not…

Are you ready?

Prayer: Almighty God,
as your kingdom dawns,

Turn us from the darkness of sin to the
                light of holiness,

Purify our hearts and Minds,

Make us ready Lord,

so that we may be ready to meet you
in our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.