By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
We do not know the day or the hour of His return, but we know enough. Of the things we know, the most interesting detail may be the fact that Jesus Himself is unaware of the day of His return.
Matthew 24:36 (NIV): But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
This is interesting because Jehovah provided His Son all authority over the heavens and the earth (Matthew 28:18). We should look at this passage as a reminder of where Jesus’ power and authority comes from. While the church is His bride, and He will judge the world on the Last Day, Christ is still in submission to His Father. Similarly, we pray to the Father, but we must pray through His Son as He is our authority.
John 14:6 (ESV): Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
It is likewise interesting that Jesus compares His return to the flood of Noah. Just as Noah, the servants of God should be warning the world a day is coming that we need to be prepared for. Like Noah building the ark, servants of Christ must also take the time to prepare themselves for His return. Identical to the flood, we may not know the day, but we know Christ is coming and we cannot start preparing the moment we see the first rain drops.
Matthew 24:37-39 (NIV): As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.
To show a genuine faith, we should be prepared at any moment for the return of Christ. It would be easier if we knew the day or the hour, but it would not be as rewarding. Preparation is a lesson within itself, and if we do not live each day like today could be the day… we could lose our sense of urgency. If we were made aware of the day and time, we would likely have a false sense of comfort; though we still do not know whether we will make it to that day. Similar to being prepared for a criminal if we knew the day the criminal was attacking… what happens if another criminal attacks us the day before? We should find comfort not knowing the day of His return, as it will have us well prepared for anything.
Matthew 24:42-44 (NKJV): Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
You recall when Jesus was speaking to a few disciples who were fishing. The disciples had spent the night fishing without success, and when coming ashore Jesus asked them if they had any food (John 21:5). When the disciples replied that they did not have any food, Jesus told them to cast their net on the right side of the boat (v. 6). At this point the disciples were not aware the person they were speaking with was Jesus Christ. This occurrence would be the third time the disciples would have encountered Jesus since His death and resurrection. As far as they were concerned, this request came from a complete stranger. Having spent the night fishing, the disciples were most likely hungry and tired. They probably felt they had cast a net over every inch of water, and were confident there was not a fish to be found. Yet when a stranger asked them to cast their net on the right side of the boat, they did so without question or complaint.
John 21:6 (NKJV): And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish.
The disciple’s faith and humility was rewarded and they caught one hundred and fifty-three large fish in their net (v. 11). God’s grace works much in the same way. We cannot do anything to earn one hundred and fifty-three fish, but that does not exonerate us from participating.
James 2:18 (ESV): But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
Grace is tied to our faith, and while the work we do cannot earn us our salvation, the work we do is a sign of our faith.
Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV): For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
The expression of faith is what makes us different than the demons and unbelievers. Many know Jesus Christ and believe He is the son of God, but they do not express their faith. There are demons in theBible who fear the sight of Jesus, asking Him if He came to judge them before the appointed time (Matthew 8:29). Though the demons have faith in God and the final judgment, they are not expressing their faith for God on a daily basis. Since they are being disobedient to God, they do not have God’s grace. Therefore, let us be faithful to cast our net when commanded so that God’s grace may abound.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
Cain, like so many of us, wants God to be pleased with the work he is doing. Also like so many of us, Cain was trying to do things according to his own preferences, instead of obeying God’s will.
Genesis 4:3-5 (NIV): In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
We find from the account in Hebrews 11 that Abel’s faith was the reason his offering was better than Cain’s. Abel provided God the “firstborn of his flocks”, while Cain offering God “some of the fruits”.
Hebrews 11:4 (NIV): By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.
While it is not explicitly stated, it would seem God believed Cain understood what was expected of him. Like any parent, God is not pleased when His children do not obey His directions; even if they complete the task. If we want our children to buy a loaf of bread, they cannot take it upon themselves to purchase a pack of cheese with the change. As Christians, we cannot add or ignore the guidelines found in the Bible and expect God to be pleased with us. We have an understanding that obedience to God is how we show Him that we love Him.
John 14:23 (ESV): Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
If we ignore His words and fail to meet His expectations, God wants us to know He is not pleased with us. Jehovah is a just and fair God, and as such, He will reward us if we do right and walk the path of righteousness. If we do wrong, like Cain, we open ourselves up to sin and that can lead us down the path of destruction. Stay strong, show your love to God through obedience, and do not lean on your own understanding.
Genesis 4:6-7 (NIV): Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”