The third watch - Luke 12:38
I realise that we are lifting these verses slightly out of context and from their proper application, but I feel that they can equally apply to saints who await the soon coming return of the Lord Jesus to the air! I think there are lessons and applications for us here that are fair to make.
Under the Jewish system, the third watch of the night was also the last watch of the night before morning, from 02:00 to 06:00. The night had been long and dark and the watchers would be tiring and weary, but there were signs of morning approaching! My fellow believer, I can't think of a better picture of today, as we look around this sorry world as evil abounds on every corner, doesn't it feel like we are in the third watch of the night? There can be no doubt that there is much unrest in the world, and we are living in dark and difficult days of testimony, surely the Lord will come soon as he promised in his Word!
"surely I come quickly" Revelation 22:20
If we read the previous verses the Lord speaks about those servants who are waiting and watching for their Lord to return. There are 2 things that the Lord mentions about these waiting and watching servants:
"Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning"
In Bible times the loins being girded would mean that the person was ready for activity and movement, as their garments and robes were long and flowing and needed to be girded in order to do serious activity! As we wait and watch for the Lord we should be active in service, ready to move and do his will.
The lamps burning would speak of the light of testimony, as the scriptures often refer to a testimony being a light, whether it be individual or collective as an assembly. In these dark days in which we live, surely it is even more imperative that our light of testimony burn all the more brighter to bring glory and honour to God and be a witness and beacon for the lost world around us! If this shows us anything, it is that our testimony is of great importance and interest to the Lord. He delights in it and it brings glory to him. We challenge ourselves - what state is our testimony in, both individual and collectively?
Finally, by way of encouragement we notice that there is blessing for those faithful and expectant servants:
"And if he shall come in... the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants"
Surely this would point us on to a future day of appraisal and reward for the believer, or as it is called the Judgement Seat of Christ:
"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad" 2 Cor 5:10
As we leave this rich and profitable mini-study, let us leave ourselves with these challenges:
Our life and testimony down here does matter! The Lord is looking for it and will bless faithful servants in a future day. Are we content to coast along, to settle for spiritual mediocrity?
The time is short, the Lord is soon coming, we are in the third watch - how will be found?