One cannot escape from the obvious meaning of the words of Jesus about what happens at the time of his return to earth. It is a time when human beings have, from God’s point of view, totally given themselves over to godlessness. Today’s chapter in Luke (17) indicates that before our Master’s return there will be those who mislead, claiming to know when he will return, “they will say to you, ‘Look, there! or ‘Look here’” …” but he “is not coming with signs to be observed.” [v.23, 20] What does that mean? Jesus makes it absolutely clear that when he does come it will be sudden and absolutely clear that God is intervening in life on earth, “for as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky! From one side to the other; so will the Son of Man be in his day.” [v.24]
Our Master draws parallels with the saving of Noah and those with him (v.26,27) then the circumstances with Lot are described – that his return will be similarly sudden. Jesus says, “just as it was in the days of Lot – they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, but on the day when Lot went from Sodom … so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed.” [v.28-30] Lot’s day was obviously a literal day!
We remember when we were young, the nation of Israel declared itself in existence without the physical support of any other nation; the nations around were sure they could destroy it, their armies surged in – and dismally failed – it was miraculous. For the next 25 years (1948-73) they tried again and again – and failed again and again: all the time we thought Christ’s return could be imminent. Then the Soviet Union collapsed in 1990 – and expectations faded. Now in 2020 the enemies around Israel are in total disarray. But the conditions all over the world are more like the days of Noah and Lot than ever! But, remember what we read last Friday in ch. 20; “You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” [v.40]