Editor’s Note: This week I welcome guest blogger, Daymarr Jackson. In addition to his full-time day job, Daymarr is Faith Church’s youth leader, and a chaplain candidate in the PA Army National Guard. He is studying for his Master of Divinity at Evangelical Seminary (Kairos). He and his wife, Danielys, have two kids.
Jesus talks about waiting many times throughout the Gospels, but in Matthew chapter 25, verses 1-13, he tells a parable about the Kingdom of Heaven being like ten virgins who are waiting.
Through the parable, Jesus teaches that there are two ways to wait. We can wait with eager expectation that the bridegroom is going to come back for his bride. Or we can wait halfheartedly. Maybe it will happen, maybe it won’t. Maybe I should just go through this religious ritual. Maybe I should just show up on Sunday, business as usual. Or we can be like the wise virgins in the parable, and we can fill our lamps, waiting because we know there will be a day and time will come when the bridegroom will return for his bride, and we want to be ready.
After that parable, Jesus teaches another parable saying the Kingdom of Heaven will be like a master who entrusts three of his servants to care for his investments. Read Matthew 25:14-30.
Here again, Jesus teaches two ways to wait. We can do something while we’re waiting for the thing that we’re hoping for to come to fruition. We can invest in the here and now and do the good works that God has prepared for us.
Or we can just casually go through life, taking what comes, practicing religious rituals, but our heart is far from Christ, just like the Pharisees
Let’s wait how Jesus wants us to wait, choosing to truly stand and believe what God says in his word, in hope, with eager expectation. Like this:
What a beautiful depiction of hope. The people have labored for years to have God’s word to have translated into their native language. I think that is something that we take for granted. We take for granted that we get to come together on a Sunday morning, and worship together in freedom and worship together in spirit and in truth. We have the Bible on iPads and cell phones and laptops, so easily accessible. We are, as Americans, truly a privileged people.
We are so privileged that some of us would believe that what we are experiencing in our country is persecution, but it is so far from it compared to what our brothers and sisters around the world experience. Compared to what these New Testament writers would have experienced, that they’re giving their lives for this kingdom. To see, to be a part, to bring others into the Kingdom.
When I watch that video, and I see people rejoicing at just the fact that God was faithful to bring his word into their very own language, they cried because of how beautiful they though that was. Some of us, including myself, struggle to engage with Scripture on a daily basis. For some of us it’s hard to pray and be in communion with God. For some of us, at the first sign of adversity or hardship we start to lose hope. But our hope is not in this world.
In fact, Jesus says in John 16:33, “Take heart, be of good cheer” in essence, have hope, “for I have overcome this world. In this world you will have troubles, for I have overcome this world.”
My hope is that you would be encouraged, you would be strengthened, knowing, understanding, and seeing that just as the earliest Christians believed the Kingdom of heaven was near then, how much more near is it now? I cannot tell you that I know the day, the time or hour that Jesus is coming again, because the Bible says nobody knows. (Matthew 24:36) But I can tell you that we’re one day closer, one second closer, one minute closer, one hour closer. For some of us we may go home and be with the Lord today. Some this week, some next year. Some of us may live on in tragic circumstances.
But no matter the circumstances, that does not mean that Jesus is not who he says he is, because he died, and he resurrected. That truth, that reality is what the early Christians believed so wholeheartedly that they were willing to be beaten, martyred, maimed, fed to lions, and even made as candles in Nero’s courtyard.
Because they saw the risen Jesus, and they were willing to give it all. How about you and me?