Mark 13:33 - Living As Though Jesus Were Coming Today! - updated

Mark 13:33; Living As Though Jesus Were Coming Today! - updated

Mark 13:33 (KJV) Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not 
when the time is.  

Take ye heed. This present tense imperative calls for constant 
alertness. The same is true of the verb watch, which means to keep oneself 
awake. [Wycliffe Bible Commentary] 

The time is kept a secret, that you may be engaged to stand 
always upon your guard.... watch for his coming, that it may not at any 
time be a surprise to you, and pray for that grace which is necessary 
to qualify you for it, for ye know not when the time is; and.... 
which may come any day." (Matthew Henry's Commentary) 

We ought to be always upon our watch, in expectation of his 
return. [Matthew Henry Commentary] 

We need not be concerned about when Christ returns, but about 
how to live until then. [Victor Bible Reader's Companion] 

We are not being instructed here to stand by the window and wait 
for Christ's return; rather we are being told to live a certain kind 
of life - a conscious, alert, involved life. [Life Recovery 
Devotional SB] 

The important thing is not watching the calendar but building 
our character. We must be alert ("watch") and be found doing His 
work when He comes. [Wiersbe Expository Outlines] 

Jesus' final words are the ones we should study most carefully. 
He tells us to be constantly alert to serve Him while we are 
waiting, for He may return at any time and yearns to find us ready to 
greet Him. [Victor Bible Reader's Companion] 

The simple fact is that we do not know the moment that God's 
"when" will be transformed into "now." God's when may be today, 
tomorrow, or lie in the distant future long after we have completed our 
sojourns here on earth. But these options make no difference to us at 
all. What is important is that as we wait expectantly, we "watch," 
using every gift and opportunity to serve the Lord. [Victor Bible 
Background Commentary] 

There are three watchwords in the Christian life, which must be 
heeded if we would not have Satan steal a march upon us; namely, watch, 
pray, work. Prayer and watching thereunto are necessary for 
advancement in the divine life. Never was there a time in your history more 
important than the present. Your only safety is to live like a watchman. 
Watch and pray always. Oh, what a preventive against yielding to 
temptation and falling into the snares of the world! 2T283 

In consideration of the shortness of time we as a people should 
watch and pray, and in no case allow ourselves to be diverted from the 
solemn work of preparation for the great event before us. Because the 
time is apparently extended, many have become careless and 
indifferent in regard to their words and actions. They do not realize their 
danger and do not see and understand the mercy of our God in 
lengthening their probation, that they may have time to form characters for 
the future, immortal life. Every moment is of the highest value. 
Time is granted them, not to be employed in studying their own ease 
and becoming dwellers on the earth, but to be used in the work of 
overcoming every defect in their own characters and in helping others, by 
example and personal effort, to see the beauty of holiness. God has a 
people upon the earth who in faith and holy hope are tracing down the 
roll of fast-fulfilling prophecy and are seeking to purify their 
souls by obeying the truth, that they may not be found without the 
wedding garment when Christ shall appear. 4T306,7 

Jesus did not reveal when the end would come, but this should 
motivate us to remain alert and watchful from now until the end. And as 
we are unsure of the future of our world, we also are uncertain 
concerning the timing and difficulties we will face in recovery. In 
reality, we are never completely recovered; we are always in recovery. We 
will experience total victory only after Jesus has returned to make 
us into new people. Preparation for his return must be made one day 
at a time. We cannot calculate the day of his return and plan to 
change just before the final event. Our daily preparation and action 
are an important key to our spiritual health and our recovery. [Life 
Recovery SB] 

Months of planning go into a wedding, the birth of a baby, a 
career change, a speaking engagement, the purchase of a home. Do you 
place the same importance on preparing for Christ's return, the most 
important event in your life? Its results will last for eternity. You dare 
not postpone your preparations because you do not know when his 
return will occur. The way to prepare is to study God's Word and live 
by its instructions each day. Only then will you be ready. [Life 
Application SB] 

    Jesus wants His followers to evaluate turbulent times of 
change (v. 33) not just from the perspective of history but even more 
from the perspective of His kingdom. As believers, we are citizens of 
eternity. Therefore, our confidence needs to be rooted in something far 
more important than our positions and achievements here and now. It's 
not that the here and now has no importance. But as we live our 
lives, God wants us to be loyal workers for His kingdom, serving the 
people He sends our way. 
    Is your significance tied too closely to achievements - 
building buildings, reaching business goals, acquiring material 
possessions, climbing career ladders? There's nothing inherently wrong with 
these. But if you lost them, would your confidence completely crumble? 
If your sense of worth depends on them, what happens when you reach 
the top of the ladder, only to discover that the ladder is leaning 
against the wrong wall? 
    The problem is that our world has a system of values that is 
upside down from the way God determines value. It lacks any sense of 
what Scripture describes as "calling," or what Christians later 
termed "vocation" - a perspective that God has called and equipped 
people to serve Him through their work in the world. Instead, our 
culture encourages us to climb a work/identity ladder that is ultimately 
self-serving, and often self-destructive. 
    Climbing that ladder can be very misleading. The higher one 
goes, the more one's identity, value, and security tend to depend on 
the nature of one's work. But what happens if we lose our position, 
titles, or high-level compensation? Perhaps this explains why severe 
emotional problems - drug and alcohol abuse, abuse of spouse and children, 
divorce, even suicide - often accompany job loss. If our significance 
relies on our job, then it dies with our job. 
    God calls us to a far more stable basis for significance. He 
wants us to establish our identity in the fact that we are His 
children, created by Him to carry out good works as responsible people in 
His kingdom (Eph. 2:10). This is our calling or vocation from God. 
According to Scripture, our calling: 
*	is irrevocable (Rom. 11:29).
*	is from God; He wants to let us share in Christ's glory (2 
Thess. 2:14). 
*	is a function of how God has designed us (Eph. 2:10).
*	is an assurance that God will give us everything we need to 
serve Him, including the strength to remain faithful to Him (1 Cor. 
*	is what we should be proclaiming as our true identity (1 Pet. 
2:5, 9). 
*	carries us through suffering (1 Pet. 2:19-21).
*	is rooted in peace, no matter what the circumstances in which 
we find ourselves (1 Cor. 7:15-24). 
*	is focused on eternal achievements, not merely temporal ones 
(Phil. 3:13-4:1). 
    Above all else, believers are called to character 
development, service to others, and loyalty to God. These can be accomplished 
wherever we live or work, whatever our occupational status or position in 
society. If we pursue these, we can enjoy great satisfaction and 
significance. No matter what happens on the job, we can join Paul in saying, 
"We know that all things work together for good to those who love 
God, to those who are called according to His purpose" (Rom.8:28). 
[Word In Life SB] 

We must live in a constant state of readiness. [College Press 
NIV Commentary] 

Jesus makes it clear that no one knows the time of his return 
and calls all his followers to stay faithful while awaiting this 
glorious event. [New Bible Companion] 

We must so live that it does not matter when he comes. It gives 
us the great task of making every day fit for him to see and being 
at any moment ready to meet him face to face. [Barclay Commentary]