In the final message of the series, we learn that a disciple lives life with the end in mind. That doesn’t necessarily mean that we stand on a street corner with a sign that reads, “The End Is Near.” It means that we live our lives in light of the fact that Jesus will one day return, history as we know it will cease, and God’s eternal kingdom will be ushered in. Jesus isn’t just giving us interesting information, he intends that our knowledge of what will take place in the future will impact our daily lives now.
Matthew 24-25 contains Jesus longest teaching about ‘last things’, that which will take place at the end of history. As he speaks, at least four things become apparent that should characterize disciples as we live with the knowledge of the end. First, a disciple is wary of deception. The kinds of events that Jesus says will take place will cause people to be confused, fearful, and even desperate. These are the conditions which make people susceptible to deception. Our Enemy wants nothing more than for us to live in fear, lose confidence in the Gospel, and question God’s Word.
Second, a disciple perseveres. Jesus promised that difficult times would characterize life for disciples as the end of all things approaches. One of the marks of genuine faith is that it perseveres and continues to look to the Lord, even when life doesn’t make sense and it’s difficult to discern what the Lord is doing at that moment.
Third, a disciple is ready and watchful. Jesus tells us that the faithful disciple will adopt a posture of readiness and watchfulness regarding his return. With the passage of time and the challenges of daily life, it’s easy to neglect this teaching. We can maintain our readiness and watchfulness by our attentiveness to worship and devotion, attentiveness to God’s Word, attentiveness to prayer, and attentiveness to one another.
Finally, a disciple is diligent. In Jesus’ parable of the talents, he is very clear that a disciple lives with a kind of ‘active waiting’; he has gifted us in order to share in the work of the kingdom and we need to be diligent to do so. The reward is to hear our Master’s words of welcome: “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.”