Bible Studies for Life Sunday School Lesson for May 22

Bible Studies for Life Sunday School Lesson for May 22


Matthew 24:42–51

In “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back,” Yoda admonishes Luke Skywalker, saying, “All his life has he looked away to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was.” Almost 2,000 years earlier, Jesus told His disciples the same thing.

Stay alert and ready for the return of Christ. (42–44)

Today, we are bombarded with predictions about the return of Jesus even though Jesus said it was unknowable. But if people knew when Jesus would return, they might not be concerned about being ready until it was time. Jesus illustrated this with the story of the homeowner. Had the owner known when a thief would break in, he would have been ready. Not knowing, a wise homeowner would be prepared for a break-in at any time.

The application is clear. Always live your life as if Jesus might return at any minute because He might.

Jesus does not provide specific guidelines here for how one might stay ready for His return. Fortunately, one can find them throughout Scripture.

Remain faithful to what God has called you to do. (45–47)

Whatever God has revealed to you about your place in His work, that is where your focus must be until Jesus returns.

The miniparable of the faithful and wise servant serves as a model for the task of the Christ-follower. The servant has received a task from the master. There is no indication whether the servant earned the position or the master simply bestowed it as a gift. It does not matter.

In whatever circumstances one finds oneself, the assignment from the Master is the same. In the story, the task is to run the household and feed the other servants. The implication for Christian leaders is obvious. One must not spend time worrying about when the Master will return. It is of no importance. The only task is to feed and care for the household.

The servant received no instruction to work out the master’s schedule. Whether our Master returns this evening or in 10,000 years, there is still a job to do today. So, do it.

Though doing the will of the master should be enough reward for any true servant, Jesus adds the promise of additional rewards. The joy of the master who finds his servant conducting the task will result in blessings and promotion for the servant. This is reinforced in the parable of the talents in the next chapter and in the story of Joseph’s rise to prominence in Egypt (Gen. 39:2–6, 41:33–36).

Don’t live for yourself while you wait for Jesus’ return. (48–51)

The promise of rewards cannot be the primary concern of the wise servant as the miniparable of the wicked servant illustrates. The wicked servant thinks only of himself and does not care for those in his charge. He is like the hired hand of John 10:12–13 who is not concerned about the sheep.

Will the response of Jesus, when He returns, be as harsh as that of the earthly master? Perhaps. There may be people who let their search for the moment of His Second Coming overshadow the message of His first coming. By majoring on the minors (of His return), they have missed the meaning of His plan of redemption.

While we await the return of Jesus, keep these words of Paul in mind: “Until I come, give your attention to public reading, exhortation and teaching” (1 Tim. 4:13). Until Jesus comes, keep sharing His message, caring for others and growing more like Him every day.

By Daryl Watts
Watts is a church consultant in Fresno, California.

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