The content and context of the sacred text is known as the Olivet Discourse as Jesus gave it on the Mount of Olives. This is a prophecy by Jesus about the end times.
The celebration of Advent is to provide eschatological hope for believers that Jesus is coming back for us. We are watch for the return of Jesus, but serve until Jesus returns.
Lesson one is to be on guard! The Bible says in Mark 13:32-33, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.”
Jesus says be on guard because He’s coming back. Be on guard in way you act, treat others, and serve God’s people because He’s coming back to judge the living and the dead.
Jesus says be on guard to practice an authentic, righteous, and real Christian religion. The Bible says in 1 John 4:4, “Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.”
Jesus says be on guard to practice an authentic Christianity. The Bible says in Mark 13:13, “All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Jesus says to be on guard to practice integrity. The Bible says in Mark 13:6, “Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many.”
Jesus says be on guard to live right. Jesus says be on guard to act right. Jesus says be on guard to give right. Jesus says be on guard to serve right. Jesus says be on guard to love right.
The Bible says in Mark 13:34, “It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.”
Lesson two is God’s assignment. God in Jesus Christ has given us an assignment. The assignment is to take care of God’s people until Jesus returns. We are living in the tribulation.
Tribulation means great adversity and anguish, intense oppression and persecution, racism and sexism and wickedness in the high offices. We are living in tribulation, but God has given us an assignment to speak to truth to power. God gives us an assignment to change a sin filled world.
Is there anybody here on assignment for God? I’m on assignment to be an authentic Christian. I not worried about impressing you, but I am worried about disappointing God in Jesus.
I’m on assignment to take care of God’s children. Children don’t care about the time you spend at work, but children measure the time we spend with them.
I’m on assignment to protect women being trafficked by pimps, players and pushers. I’m on assignment to stump on the devil’s head by preaching against pornography, weed smoking, adultery, sex before marriage, multiple partners and lying.
I’m on assignment to tell somebody about God in Jesus. I am going to stop picking and choosing who to invite to church. I’m going to invite whosoever – whosoever wants freedom from sin, whosoever wants liberation from hate, whosoever wants redemptions from racism, whosoever wants deliverance from deception. Whosoever wants salvation!
Lesson three is to watch! The Bible says in Mark 13:35-37, “Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back — whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: Watch!”
God commands us to watch. Watch, because children are watching us. Watch, because the world is watching us. Watch, because God elected you to be saved in the day of God’s judgment. Watch, because God elected you to be saved the world from the gates of hell. Watch, because God elected you, over every other person on the face of the earth, to be saved. Watch, because God elected, selected, and designated you to change the world.
Therefore, I am not going to let Jesus find me sleeping when He returns. I’m not going to let Jesus find me sleeping, instead of serving. I’m not going to let Jesus find me sleeping, instead of praying. I’m not going to let Jesus find me sleeping, instead of watching. Because God is worth watching, I’m going to stay woke!
God birthed you like Eve. God can save you like Noah. God can protect you like Daniel. God can heal you like Naaman. God can favor you like Moses. God can prosper you like Isaac. God can rename you like Jacob. God can choose you like Joshua.
God can empower you like Debra. God can anoint you like David. God can astute you like Solomon. God can answer you like Elijah. God can use you like Daniel. God can intervene for you like Esther. God can bless you like Mary. God can forgive you like Peter. God can call you like Paul. God can raise you like Jesus.
I’m watching because Jesus remade me! I’m watching because Jesus replenished me. I’m watching because Jesus repurposed me, rebranded me, rescued me, regenerated me, restored me, refreshed me, reinvented me, redeemed me, and recycled me. Jesus is coming back to reclaim me!
The Rev. Mark E. Whitlock, Jr., MDiv., is the senior pastor of Christ Our Redeemer AME Church, 45 Tesla in Irvine.