I think there is a more important question than the question, “Will you be left?” I also think that this question is more important than the questions, “Will you be taken?” I think this is the point of Jesus’ conversation with the disciples. As far as I can tell from the various ways this passage, and others like it, have been translated, there is much confusion.
Is it better to be left or to be taken? For those who buy into rapture theology, it is better to be taken. For those who buy into classic Christian theology, it is better to be left. But from reading what Jesus is saying to his disciples, what matters is being ready.
For what are we to be ready? We are to be ready for the coming of the Son of Man! The Lord is coming. Jesus’ arrival will mean that the Day of the Lord is upon us. So, we have to be ready, whatever our understanding is if we want to leave or stay.
A. No one knows when it will happen (24:36-42)
1. The Son of Man will be seen coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory (24:30)
2. Yet, the only one who knows when this will take place is the Father
3. Life will be happening, just as it was in the days of Noah, until Noah entered the ark
4. The people of this world will know nothing about what is going to happen – even though they have been warned to repent
5. Of the two in the field or grinding meal together
a. “aphietai” – leave; has a connotation of “forgive”; also has a connotation of “commit apostasy”
b. “paralambantai” – take along; has a connotation of “saved”; also has a connotation of “taken away for judgment”
6. Keep awake! Either we are going to be left because we have been forgiven, or we will left because we have committed a crime against God. Either we are taken along because we are being saved, or we are taken away for judgment. And we could spend hours, even days, arguing over who is right and who is wrong. If we were to argue over this passage, then I do believe we have missed the point of being ready for the return of Jesus.
B. You must be ready! (24:43-44)
1. If the owner of the house had known when the thief was coming, then he would not have let his house be broken into!
2. The Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour!
3. If the governor said she was going to stop by, then I would make sure I was ready. If a friend said he would be coming to my house, then I would make sure that I was ready for his arrival.
4. How do we get ready for an important person to arrive at our location?
a. Clean the house – get the dust bunnies cleared up!
b. Make sure you are wearing decent clothes – we have to be presentable
5. But we don’t know when Jesus is coming!
6. We are to be ready
a. Confess our sins and confess Jesus as Lord
b. Get washed in the blood of the Lamb!
c. Keep on following Jesus’ commands
7. Just because we went to church way back when, it doesn’t mean that we are ready for Jesus’ return today or tomorrow. God’s timing is not our timing. Jesus hasn’t returned yet. This doesn’t mean we put off getting ready. Procrastinating won’t work. For we know not when Jesus will return. We might be caught unaware if we are not ready.
It seems that it doesn’t matter whether we are left or if we are taken. Jesus is warning us to be ready. Arguing about who is right and who is wrong misses the point. The Lord is coming. We have to be ready.
Are you ready for the coming of the Son of Man? The Lord is coming. Start following Jesus today. Or when Jesus returns, we won’t be ready.