New Testament Notes 294-296

New Testament Notes 294-296 May 13, 2019

 

Blake's virgins
“The Wise and Foolish Virgins,” by William Blake (ca. 1826)
Wikimedia CC public domain

 

Mark 13:33-37

Luke 21:34-36

Compare Matthew 24:42-51; 25:13-15; Luke 12:38, 40; 19:12-13

 

As the saying goes, “When the time to perform arrives, the time for preparation has passed.”

 

We all know this, but — at least, if you’re anything like me — we also all violate the principle time after time after time.  In the last times, though, failure to be prepared may prove to be both physically and spiritually fatal.

 

Snowless Denver
Denver, Colorado, without snow
(Wikimedia Commons public domain image)

 

Matthew 24:37-44

Compare Matthew 24:17-18; 25:13; Mark 13:33, 35; Luke 12:39-40; 17:26-36

 

Life goes on in its old familiar rut, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year.

 

Until, all of a sudden, it doesn’t.

 

“When does God laugh?” goes the saying.  “When humans make plans.”

 

I don’t know that he really laughs.  But true it is that our plans can seem pretty puny, sometimes.

 

Many years ago, in 1982, all of my wife’s extended family gathered at her parents’ home near Denver.  We were going to fly down to Orlando, Florida.

 

The night before Christmas Eve, we participated in a fairly large sing-along of G. F. Handel’s Messiah.  Some snow was falling.  Just a few flakes.  But we laughed.  A storm was coming in, and we were going to Florida.  We were spending Christmas Eve at Disney World.

 

But, the next morning, we weren’t.  We weren’t going anywhere.  Nor was anybody else.  Not to the airport.  Not to the market.  Not anywhere.  It took several days to get out of the city.  The only functional transportation, for most of us, was by snowmobile.  (I still have a scar on my left shin that reflects that period.)

 

A major American city, accustomed to snow, had been completely immobilized by a little more snow than usual.

 

The Christmas blizzard of 1982 (see also here) was a lesson in humility, in human powerlessness before nature.

 

But it was really nothing.  An inconvenience, no more.  Something, soon enough, to recall with a degree, even, of amusement.

 

The salient thing here is its unexpectedness, coupled with its irresistible power to alter well-laid plans.

 

A sudden, terrible accident destroys a life, cutting it achingly short.  An unexpected but serious health crisis makes everything else seem pointless.  A disaster strikes.  A job goes away.

 

Big things, little things.

 

So it will be with the coming of the Son of Man.  A very, very big thing.  Unexpected.  And utterly transformative.

 

Posted from Aswan, Egypt

 

 

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New Testament Notes 314-317

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