Preparing the Disciples for What Comes Next


This is a continuation of daily posts through Holy Week.

After Jesus engaged in a truth-telling series of teaching with the religious leaders in Jerusalem, he spent time with his disciples. 

And what he did was prepare them for life after life on earth with Jesus. 

If you have a red-letter Bible and look at Matthew 24-25, you will see solid red letters all the way through. All of these red letters — the very words of Christ — are the words Jesus spoke to his disciples about what to expect about the end of time and how to live in the meantime, while waiting for it to come to pass. 

He’s teaching them how to live after he’s left them.

He begins by answering their question about the end of days, telling them how they will know those days are near. He prepares them for the inevitability of false prophets who will call themselves the savior in his stead. He tells them life will be hard. 

And he asks them, in all of this, to be faithful and trustworthy: 

“Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods.”

— Matthew 24:45-47

This teaching to be faithful continues through chapter 25.

He tells the parable of the ten virgins — five wise and five foolish — who awaited the coming of their groom. What made five of them wise? Being prepared with enough oil to light their lamps through the night, no matter how long they were made to wait for the groom’s arrival. 

He tells the parable of the talents — a master who goes away for a long spell but leaves his servants with some resources with which to be creative and useful and fruitful while he’s gone. Those who were blessed upon his return were those who did just that: used what the master had given them to some good and fruitful end.

He talks about a division of sheep and goats — those who enter into glory (sheep) and those who don’t (goats). What marks the difference? Those who choose to love and care for others on earth, no matter their circumstance.

In all this, Jesus is teaching his disciples — and all of us who follow him — how to live until the end of time. 

Be faithful. Be useful for good with what you have and who you are. Be full of love and care and kindness and mercy. Until he returns to set all things right.