Last Updated on : November 23, 2014

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The Parable of the Thief
(Matt. 24:43-44)
By Pearce Mansfield, Story of the Bible, Vol. 11



The Lord continued to stress the need for vigilance, alertness and wakefulness by basing an exhortation upon the unexpectedness of his return.

"If the owner of a house knew in what watch the thief would come," Jesus continued, "he would have watched (kept awake), and would not have allowed his house to be broken up."

The statement is a very obvious one, and needs no comment. On the basis of it, the Lord continued:

"Therefore be you also ready; for in such an hour as you think not the Son of man cometh" (v.44).

The "Son of man" is the title of Christ as judge (John 5:27), so that the warning of Jesus is that he can come as judge at a moment when we least expect him.

How could these words apply to the Apostles who died so long ago?

They apply in fact, to all disciples of every age for, in a sense, death can be likened to a coming of the Lord, in that the next moment of consciousness will be at his Judgment Seat.

Death can come just as suddenly and unexpectedly as the literal return of the Lord will be; and once it does, our account is closed for good or ill.

Wise is the person who, recognising this, remains awake to his responsibilities, and by guarding over his life and actions, builds a character pleasing to Christ at his coming.