How should we live today in light of that day?
Throughout Luke, Jesus has taught a lot about the kingdom of God, which could simply be defined as “the reign of God.” Jesus proclaims that the kingdom has already come, and that it is still coming. To the Pharisees who are asking about when the Kingdom will come, he tells them and he says it is in the midst of them. To the disciples, he begins to tell them about a time that is coming when he will be absent and then he will return.
In Luke 17:22, “he said to the disciples, ‘the days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it.’”
This is Jesus referring to the church awaiting his return. Since the time Jesus ascended into heaven, we have been living in what he calls the “last days” and in these last days we will long to see Jesus.
Martin Luther said every Christian should have only two dates on their calendar—this day and that day. He said these are the only two days we can be fully sure of.
This should shape our priorities and how we live to understand that Jesus and therefore judgment will come suddenly. 1 Thess 5:3 say, “for you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.”
It’s easy to think that there is going to be some sort of early warning system on Jesus’s return—that when he is just about here people will be able to have enough time to really get serious, kind of like the way the meteorologists talked about Hurricane Irma and evacuations for a full week before it got there.
Jesus gives the example of the one not being to be able to go back down to the house, or the one in the field to return because he is telling us that in that day there will no longer be any time to prepare.
The warning is for today. Don’t be deceived into thinking that you’ve got your whole life to figure things out, and when you want to settle down and get serious then you’ll turn to Jesus. Seek the Lord while he may be found.
Jesus says in verse 33, “Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it.” This is salvation language—if we cling to ourselves and what we think can save, we’ll actually lose our lives. But if we turn from ourselves, lay down our own lives as supreme, and cling to Jesus, we will actually save them.
Discipleship is costly—either someone chooses their life, at which point it costs them everything, or they choose Christ, which costs them their life, because they will die with Christ. The only difference is that with Christ, our loss leads to true gain. The kingdom being yet future teaches us to not try and have our best life now—we can sacrifice for the sake of others coming into this kingdom.
In this way, we should take opportunities to find our contentment and hope in that which is more secure than that which we think will bring us help.