Read Mark 13:32-37.
Is He Here Yet?
The parable of the landowner concludes with this seemingly threatening series of statements. The gospel writer essentially says, “No one knows when Jesus is coming — it is so secret that only God knows. You better look out and pay attention. You don’t want Jesus to come back and catch you doing something you shouldn’t be doing. Or worse — not doing what he asked you to do in the first place!” I don’t find that particularly comforting. The return of Jesus sounds like it brings more retribution rather than relief.
As the first gospel in the canon, the writer wants to communicate urgency to the second generation of Christ followers listening to or reading accounts of Jesus and his teachings. These disciples would have been facing much uncertainty and persecution. Mark’s message is straightforward: be faithful, no matter who is or isn’t watching you.
During Advent, Christians celebrate the incarnation; we joyfully proclaim the arrival of Jesus in our midst. Whether we are waiting for Jesus to arrive as a vulnerable infant or as a resurrected judge, Mark’s words for us are clear. Jesus has commissioned us to live in faithful expectation of his arrival and his return. Jesus is not “there yet,” but we are here. So how shall we live in the already and the not yet?
Holy God, we long for you to arrive and we long for you to return. We experience both desires at the same time. Fill us with your Spirit that we may more deeply know and trust you. Give us faith to boldly live the way you call us to live. Amen.
Rev. Michele Ward