Jesus then commands his disciples to stay awake, because they don’t know when he will return. Waiting for an event when we don’t know it’s timing can be uncomfortable and demanding.
In this context, staying awake doesn’t mean figuring out when Jesus will return, but getting on with our responsibilities in this life, “in the meantime,” until he returns. It seems that Jesus us to feel this discomfort because he wants us to be always prepared for his coming. Berkouwer once said, we’re not called to reckon the time of Jesus’s return — we’re called to reckon , to allow it to fruitfully shape our lives in the present.
Waiting based on God’s promise produces humility and hope.
The conclusion to the parable of the ten virgins is this: “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour” (Matthew ). Waiting based on explicit or implicit date-setting is our human attempt to seize control of the time of Jesus’s coming.
It removes the uncomfortable, awkward uncertainty of not knowing when Jesus will return by establishing a date, whether exact or approximate.
When our waiting for Jesus is founded on God’s promise, we draw our confidence from the dependability of the one who has made the promise.
That’s good news for Christians because the God of promise is the sovereign Lord of history, and therefore totally reliable.
But God wants us to wait for Jesus not because we’re confident of a date, but because we trust God’s promise.