Proper 14 — Luke 12:31-40

Verses 35-40 contain two short parables in which Jesus compared His coming to a bridegroom returning from his wedding and a thief breaking in unexpectedly. parables with Jesus assuring His disciples the Father has chosen to give the kingdom to them.

“The kingdom is nigh,” He said, “so be ready.” “Be ready,” He averred, by “laying up treasures in eternity.” The best way to wait is to watch, and the best way to watch is to be ready when He comes.

1. The King Promises the Kingdom (vv. 32-35)
The reassurance given here is missing from Matthew’s parallel account (Matthew 6:33).

A. It Is a Comforting Promise: “Little Flock”
Matthew Henry commented: Christ’s flock in this world is a little flock; His sheep are but few and feeble. The church is a vineyard, a garden, a small spot, compared with the wilderness of this world. Though it be a little flock, quite over-numbered, and therefore in danger of being overpowered by its enemies, it is the will of Christ that they should not be afraid: “Fear not, little flock, but see yourselves under the protection and conduct of the great and good Shepherd, and lie easy.”

B. It Is a Gracious Promise: “Has Chosen Gladly”
It is ours not out of debt on God’s part, but as an act of His free, sovereign, abundant grace.

C. It Is a Demanding Promise: “Sell…Give…Make”
While we watch and wait, we prepare. I am reminded of Paul’s words in Philippians regarding our joint participation with God in matters pertaining to grace. In Philippians 2:13, it is “God who is at work in you.” In Philippians 2:12, we find our responsibility to “work out” what God has begun (Philippians 1:6). While we wait we watch with eagerness. We work while we rest.

2. The King Anticipates the Kingdom (vv. 35-40)
Verses 31-34 set the stage for these two comparing His coming with the bridegroom who returns from his wedding (vv. 35-38) and the thief who breaks in
unexpectedly (vv. 39-40), Jesus reveals four truths about the coming kingdom.

A. The Moment of His Coming (vv. 36-38)
The Jews divided their night watch into four quarters. First watch was from 6 to 9 p.m.; second watch was from 9 p.m. until midnight; third watch was from midnight until 3 a.m.; fourth watch was from 2 to 6 a.m.

Luke tells us here (recording Jesus’ words) that the second coming might occur during the second or third watch. The point is not that Jesus is going to come
somewhere between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m., but that’s His way of letting us know the time of His coming is unknown to us.

B. The Manner of His Coming
1. He is coming with great joy. Why? Verse 36 says He is the Bridegroom coming for His bride!
2. He is coming swiftly and unannounced. Verse 39 foretells His coming as a thief in the night. How is our Lord going to come as a thief? He’s going to come without any advance warning. He’s going to come without any announcement. He’s going to come without any delay. He will come swiftly, suddenly and unannounced like a thief in the night.

C. The Manner of His Coming
Verse 37 is one of the most amazing in all of Scripture: “He shall gird Himself, and make them to sit down…and will come forth and serve them.” For the bridgegroom to serve his bride at the wedding was not unusual, but to serve slaves is remarkable indeed! Jesus did this once in John 13:4 to give the disciples an object lesson in humility.

D. The Mandate of His Coming
Verse 35 implores us to be “dressed in readiness”; verse 36 commands us to be “waiting”; verse 37 commends those who are “alert”; verse 40 instructs us to “be
ready.”

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August 8, 2010
Proper 14
Luke 12:31-40

Verses 35-40 contain two short parables in which Jesus compared His coming to a bridegroom returning from his wedding and a thief breaking in unexpectedly. Verses 31-34 set the stage for these two parables with Jesus assuring His disciples the Father has chosen to give the kingdom to them.

“The kingdom is nigh,” He said, “so be ready.” “Be ready,” He averred, by “laying up treasures in eternity.” The best way to wait is to watch, and the best way to watch is to be ready when He comes.

1. The King Promises the Kingdom (vv. 32-35)
The reassurance given here is missing from Matthew’s parallel account (Matthew 6:33).

A. It Is a Comforting Promise: “Little Flock”
Matthew Henry commented: Christ’s flock in this world is a little flock; His sheep are but few and feeble. The church is a vineyard, a garden, a small spot, compared with the wilderness of this world. Though it be a little flock, quite over-numbered, and therefore in danger of being overpowered by its enemies, it is the will of Christ that they should not be afraid: “Fear not, little flock, but see yourselves under the protection and conduct of the great and good Shepherd, and lie easy.”

B. It Is a Gracious Promise: “Has Chosen Gladly”
It is ours not out of debt on God’s part, but as an act of His free, sovereign, abundant grace.

C. It Is a Demanding Promise: “Sell…Give…Make”
While we watch and wait, we prepare. I am reminded of Paul’s words in Philippians regarding our joint participation with God in matters pertaining to grace. In Philippians 2:13, it is “God who is at work in you.” In Philippians 2:12, we find our responsibility to “work out” what God has begun (Philippians 1:6). While we wait we watch with eagerness. We work while we rest.

2. The King Anticipates the Kingdom (vv. 35-40)
Comparing His coming with the bridegroom who returns from his wedding (vv. 35-38) and the thief who breaks in unexpectedly (vv. 39-40), Jesus reveals four truths about the coming kingdom.

A. The Moment of His Coming (vv. 36-38)
The Jews divided their night watch into four quarters. First watch was from 6 to 9 p.m.; second watch was from 9 p.m. until midnight; third watch was from midnight until 3 a.m.; fourth watch was from 2 to 6 a.m.

Luke tells us here (recording Jesus’ words) that the second coming might occur during the second or third watch. The point is not that Jesus is going to come somewhere between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m., but that’s His way of letting us know the time of His coming is unknown to us.

B. The Manner of His Coming
1. He is coming with great joy. Why? Verse 36 says He is the Bridegroom coming for His bride!

2. He is coming swiftly and unannounced. Verse 39 foretells His coming as a thief in the night. How is our Lord going to come as a thief? He’s going to come without any advance warning. He’s going to come without any announcement. He’s going to come without any delay. He will come swiftly, suddenly and unannounced like a thief in the night.

C. The Manner of His Coming
Verse 37 is one of the most amazing in all of Scripture: “He shall gird Himself, and make them to sit down…and will come forth and serve them.” For the bridgegroom to serve his bride at the wedding was not unusual, but to serve slaves is remarkable indeed! Jesus did this once in John 13:4 to give the disciples an object lesson in humility.

D. The Mandate of His Coming
Verse 35 implores us to be “dressed in readiness”; verse 36 commands us to be “waiting”; verse 37 commends those who are “alert”; verse 40 instructs us to “be ready.”

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