Matthew 24:36-44

Commentary Excerpt by Tom Boomershine

This story is part of the apocalyptic discourse in Matthew. This is a middle section in that discourse between the coming of the Son of Man and the injunction to watch. The theme is the lack of knowledge about when the coming will actually. The story begins with this theme: "about that day and hour, no one knows." The theme is restated in the climax of the second episode: "for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming." It is also the climax of the story, "for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour."

This is an intimate conversation between Jesus and his disciples. Therefore the tone is quiet and close, not loud and proclamatory. Jesus is giving a kind of secret information to the disciples. Speaking in something of a whisper would be appropriate.

The structure of these three episodes is relatively straightforward. The theme is announced at the beginning—"About that day and hour, no one knows"—and is then developed in relation to the days of Noah. The second episode is about the separation as a sign of the surprise and the not-knowing: two women in the field, two women grinding meal, and so on. The injunction is to keep awake and to have an attitude of preparation because you don't know when the coming of the Son of Man is going to happen. That is reinforced in the third episode, the parable of the thief.

The verbal threads that connect this story are related to its theme of "no one knows." "No one knows" is what is announced at the beginning. The verbal thread of the coming of the Son of Man or the coming of "your Lord" is at the end of each of the three episodes. This verbal thread will help you connect the three episodes.

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