The Coming Day of the Son of Man (Part 5)

Luke 17:20-37

“Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”

And he said to the disciples., “The days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. And they will say to you, ‘Look, there!’ or ‘Look, here!’ Do not go out or follow them. 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. But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise, 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 out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all— so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed. On that day, let the one who is on the housetop, with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away, and likewise let the one who is in the field not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife. Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it. I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed. One will be taken and the other left. There will be two women grinding together. One will be taken and the other left.” And they said to him, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.”

The coming day of the Son of Man is fast approaching. This coming day that will be visible to everyone and seem like any other day will be quite unexpected. It will come suddenly, out of nowhere, bringing death and destruction. The coming day of the Son of Man will be a day of division and judgment. Look at verses 34 and 35. Jesus says: “I tell you, in that night there will be two in bed. One will be taken and the other left. There will be two women grinding together. One will be taken and the other left.”

What do these two verses mean? Jesus is simply warning that when He returns, He will divide the world into two groups — the lost and the saved. Look at Jesus’s description of the coming day in Matthew 25:31-46: When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world’…Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels’…Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” 

After Jesus describes the coming day, the disciples ask, in verse 37, “Where, Lord?” Jesus responded, “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.” What did Jesus man by this comment? I believe he meant two things: First, just as vultures circle high above a dead corpse and are visible to all, so will be the return of Jesus to this earth. Secondly, just as vultures fly over dead bodies, so will Jesus’ return mark a time of great death and destruction (Revelation 19:11-21).

The coming day of Son of Man will be a day of death, judgment and destruction. It is something to be feared by those who are NOT IN Christ, but for those of us who ARE IN Christ, it is a day for which we should long. Do you fear this coming day or do you long for it? Paul longed for this day. From his Roman prison cell, he wrote, in 2 Timothy 4:6-8, “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” 

For God’s true children, the coming day of the Son of Man will usher in a day of restoration and joy as our hopes and dreams will finally be realized. Our faith will be given sight. The things that we hoped for and the things of which we were certain will once, and for all time, become reality. We will be reunited with long lost loved ones. Those who have struggled in this life will experience eternal rest forever. John describes it like this:

Now the dwelling of God will be with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 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 will have passed away. He who is seated on the throne says, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words of his are trustworthy and true,’” (Revelation 21:1-5).

As we conclude this series, I ask: Do you believe? Are you one of God’s children (John 1:12-13)? Be sure of your answer. For the believer, and only for the believer, the coming day of the Son of Man is something we should long for until we see the clouds part, and we go to meet Jesus in the sky to live with Him forever in Paradise. Amen!