In today’s chapters we once again see God using human jealousies and wilfulness for His purpose. On this occasion these lead to that special child Joseph being sent to Egypt in readiness for the sons of Jacob to develop into the 12 tribes of Israel. (Jacob’s name had been changed). Then we have David’s inspiring Psalm, “I waited patiently for the LORD; he … set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure” (40:1,2).

The words of Jesus in Matthew 24 provoke us to consider our own patient waiting. We reflect on our own anticipations during our lifetime. His disciples wanted to know, “when will these things be?” (verse 3) that is, when will this Temple be destroyed? He had just spoken of this, but they also asked, “and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” – not realizing the two events were different!

“This Gospel,” says Jesus, “will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (verse 14). Many of his words are awesome; “there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be” again (verse 21). And then he added, “But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short” otherwise “no human being would be saved”.

“For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man” (verse 27). “… all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds …”. Will TV and the internet be used? We sense it will be much more than this. Jesus’ next words are for us! “And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect …” (verses 30,31).

“Heaven and earth will pass away” (meaning rulers and the present order of things), “but my words will not pass away”. And so we have the wonder and the challenge of his words today. Jesus adds, “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son …” (verse 36).

Jesus tells us, “you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (verse 44). When the angels come to gather his elect let us be ready, let us not lose our sense of anticipation, let us marvel at the privilege, we pray we have, of being among his elect.