36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark;39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
1 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bridebeautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
Key OT/NT passages on how this passage fits within the Bible story as a whole
In Matthew 24 Jesus explicitly draws attention to the flood in ‘the days of Noah‘ as a preview of his second coming. Genesis 6-7 show that Noah was faithful and ready for the flood to come whilst others were ‘eating, drinking and marrying’ oblivious to the coming judgement. This historical example is also picked up in 2 Peter 3 as a graphic reminder that just as God judged fairly then, he will so again.
The backdrop for Revelation 21 is Genesis 1-2 and God’s original creation where He dwelt with humans in a wonderful world without sin and brokenness. The whole narrative arc of the Bible points to how humans might be able to get back to the relationship that was once expeirenced in Eden.
Brief note on context/key themes of book
Matthew’s Gospel is structured into 5 great discourses of Jesus’ teaching which all conclude with a variation of the phrase ‘when Jesus had finished saying these things…‘ Our passage is in the last of these teaching blocks where Jesus speaks about the future, his return and rewards. The main idea in the Gospel is that of ‘fulfilment‘ hence the repeated phrase ‘all this took place to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet…‘ Matthew uses the OT to show that Jesus is the long awaited Messiah and eternal King.
Matthew 24:3 tees up our passage as the disciples ask when Jesus will come again and what the signs will be.
Structure of the passage
1) Jesus’ return will be divisive and unexpected (v36-41)
2) Jesus’ return will be unannounced, so be ready and keep watch (v42-44)
Summary of author’s main point
Jesus’ return will be unexpected but guarenteed
Aim/purpose for original audience
Keep watch and be ready for Jesus’ return (v42 & 44)
Aim/purpose for us today
Keep watch and be ready for Jesus;’ return
Key area of application
Anxiety about the future abounds (Brexit, knife crime, global warming etc) however the Bible teaches that the end of the world will be bought about by Jesus’ return, not an asteroid hitting the earth, or environmental reasons. This is both bad news for those facing God’s righteous judgement but good news for those trusting Jesus to bring about a glorious new creation where we will dwell with him for eternity.
Q) How often do we think about the second coming? How might we keep watch?
Q) Do we long for God’s new creation? Why will it be so wonderful?