Scripture: Luke 17:26-37
26 As it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of man. 27 They ate, they drank, they married, they were given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 28 Likewise as it was in the days of Lot -- they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built, 29 but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom fire and sulphur rained from heaven and destroyed them all -- 30 so will it be on the day when the Son of man is revealed. 31 On that day, let him who is on the housetop, with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away; and likewise let him who is in the field not turn back. 32 Remember Lot's wife. 33 Whoever seeks to gain his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will preserve it. 34 I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. 35 There will be two women grinding together; one will be taken and the other left." 37 And they said to him, "Where, Lord?" He said to them, "Where the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together."
Meditation: What can nature teach us about the return of the Lord Jesus on the day of final judgment at the end of the world? Jesus quoted a familiar proverb to his audience: Where the body is, there the eagles (or vultures) will be gathered together. Eagles, like vultures, are attracted to carrion – the carcass of dying or dead animals. The Book of Job describes the eagle spying out its prey from afar (Job 39:29). The eagles swoop to catch their prey when the conditions are right, especially if the prey is exposed and vulnerable to a surprise attack. Severely weakened or dying prey have no chance of warding off forces that can destroy and kill. What's the point of this analogy? It's inevitable that some life-threatening or life-changing event or cause will take place when the necessary conditions are fulfilled. The return of the Lord Jesus is certain, but the time is unknown. The Day of the Lord's judgment will come swiftly and unexpectedly. Jesus warns his listeners to not be caught off guard when that day arrives. It will surely come in God's good time!
What does Jesus mean when he says that one person will be taken and another left? God judges each person individually on how they have responded to his mercy and his gracious invitation to accept or reject his kingship – to either live as loyal citizens or as traitors of his kingdom. We cannot pass off personal responsibility and accountability for how we have lived our lives to someone else, such as a close friend, spouse, or family member. No one can discharge his or her duty by proxy or by association with someone else. The good news is that God gives grace and help to all who seek him with faith and trust in his mercy. The Lord Jesus freely gives us his Holy Spirit so that we may have the wisdom, help, and strength we need to turn away from sin and to embrace God's way of love, righteousness, and holiness. The Lord's warning of judgment is a cause for dismay for those who have not heeded his warning and are now unprepared, but it brings joyful hope to those who eagerly anticipate the Lord's return in glory.
God's judgment is good news for those who are ready to meet him. Their reward is God himself, the source and author of all that is good – truth, beauty, love, and everlasting life. The people in Noah's time ignored the Lord's warning of impending judgment. They missed the boat, literally! Whose boat are you taking – the world's boat to short-lived success and happiness or God's boat to an eternal kingdom and bliss with him? Those whose hope is firmly anchored in heaven will not be disappointed when God's judgment comes. They rejoice even now that they will see the Lord in his glory! Is your hope firmly placed in God and his kingdom?
"Lord Jesus Christ, I place all my hope in you because you have redeemed the world by your death on the cross and by your victory over the grave. Help me to never lose sight of the goal of heaven that I may live each day in joyful anticipation of your return in glory."
1 The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims
2 Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge.
3 There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard;
4 yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.