And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed. On that day, the one who is on the housetop and whose goods are in the house must not go down to take them out; and likewise the one who is in the field must not turn back. Remember Lot's wife. Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.
Through the red letters, our Lord Jesus directly and dramatically emphasizes the necessity of being totally prepared for His return. He leaves nothing to the human imagination with respect to His expectations for readiness. Jesus’ truths are hard-hitting, but His message is conveyed to the faithful in love. His description of the last days is filled with the man’s preoccupation of everyday life. In a striking comparison, the Lord articulates that the days before His arrival will be much like those of Noah and Lot. People during those ancient times were unprepared for God’s judgment. This unfortunate truth is no different today, and it will be no different in the future.
In Luke 17:32-33, the Lord makes a poignant observation related to worldly self-absorption. He states, “Remember Lot’s wife. Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.” According to Genesis 19:1-29, Lot and His family were graced with the compassion of God. He provided them with angelic assistance to ensure they would escape the judgment of Sodom. Even though Lot’s wife had her immediate family with her and was in the midst of receiving God’s mercy, her worldly attachments were irresistible. Despite the angels’ instructions not to look back, she could not let go. Maybe she was transfixed on the life she had built within the city...maybe she was thinking about her friends. Based on Jesus’ statement, we can infer that she had exalted her life above God and His judgment.
What does this say to the believer today? Jesus’ referral to Lot’s wife tells us that we are to live a life that is focused on Him. No matter how innocent they may seem in our postmodern minds, worldly attachments will prevent us from seeing eternal life with Christ. If we are engrossed with building our personal legacies and exalting our own lives, we will easily miss the Kingdom of God. Think about it. Lot’s wife was within steps of escaping judgment, but her attachment to Sodom led to her demise. The example of her action also relates to one’s passing from this world as well as the Church’s rapture. We must always have an eternal focus despite the timing or season of God’s plan. Even if Christ is delayed longer than expected, we must be prudent.
Messiah further conveys the requirement for readiness through many of His parables. Spiritual preparedness and using our time on earth for the Kingdom are not options according to the Lord. The bridegroom sacrificed for His bride, and He has high expectations that she will be ready. The Christ-follower’s life was bought with a heavy price, and our eternal focus is labeled with a high standard. We are to engage a lifestyle of readiness.
I remember when I was growing up and how the Christians back in the day always stated, “We were put on this earth for one reason, and that reason is to get ready for the Lord.” Wow...how correct those “old timers” were in their assessments. But their inferences were not by chance. They were a generation of Christians who examined Scripture. If you are reading this post, I pray that you also examine Scripture closely while experiencing your limited time in this existence. Finally, be sure to remember Lot’s wife!
When morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Up, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away in the punishment of the city.” But he hesitated. So the men seized his hand and the hand of his wife and the hands of his two daughters, for the compassion of the Lord was upon him; and they brought him out, and put him outside the city. When they had brought them outside, one said, “Escape for your life! Do not look behind you, and do not stay anywhere in the valley; escape to the mountains, or you will be swept away.” But Lot said to them, “Oh no, my lords! Now behold, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have magnified your lovingkindness, which you have shown me by saving my life; but I cannot escape to the mountains, for the disaster will overtake me and I will die; now behold, this town is near enough to flee to, and it is small. Please, let me escape there (is it not small?) that my life may be saved.” He said to him, “Behold, I grant you this request also, not to overthrow the town of which you have spoken. Hurry, escape there, for I cannot do anything until you arrive there.” Therefore the name of the town was called Zoar. The sun had risen over the earth when Lot came to Zoar. Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven, and He overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. But his wife, from behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.
Parable of Ten Virgins Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’ Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.’
But Jesus said to him, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”