When Jesus Knocks

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Wesley Chapel, FL
Preacher: The Rev. Adrienne R. Hymes
Proper 14/Year C: August 7, 2022
Luke 12:32-40

While vacationing in Alaska a few weeks ago, I was awestruck by the beauty and grandeur of
God’s creation. All I remember saying to myself between sighs and gasps was, “There’s got to
be a sermon here somewhere.” Well, today is that day.

As I pondered today’s gospel lesson in the 12 th chapter of Luke, I was reminded of my
experience on a whale watching boat. If you’ve ever been whale watching, you know that the
waiting and watching can seem like an eternity. Our tour guide said, “You’ll see at least one
whale, or 100% refund.” The passengers had been assured of a whale sighting; we just didn’t
know when they would surface. Like a good tourist, I positioned myself on the outer deck to wait
and watch for movement—a fin or a tail—anything. As prepared as I thought I was to witness
those moments, I was watching and waiting on the wrong side of the boat. But, with the help of
my fellow watchers, I was able to partake in witnessing glimpses of the magnificent creatures.
There were moments when I witnessed the hoped-for event of a whale breaching, and there were
just as many times when I just missed such moments—caught off guard and I was simply not

I suspect that we all have stories like that when you thought you were as alert, and as prepared as
you could possibly be, yet you still missed the very thing for which you had been diligently
waiting and watching. Jesus warned his disciples, to be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an
unexpected hour. Jesus used the example of slaves whose primary purpose was to wait for, and
to wait on their master, as signified by their opening the door as soon as he comes and knocks.
“Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit…,” said Jesus. In other words, stay ready, so that
you don’t have to get ready.

Jesus’ warning recalls the institution of the first Passover when God described to Moses and
Aaron how they should eat the Passover meal, “…Your loins girded, your sandals on your
feet…and you shall eat it hurriedly…for I will pass through the land of Egypt that night…”. 1
Notice God’s instruction. His expectation for the whole congregation of Israel was that they
would be obedient to his instructions as they readied themselves for the passing of God passing
through Egypt on the day and at the time-of-day that he said he would.

Jesus told his disciples that those who fail to prepare for their master’s return, will be caught off
guard as if a thief had broken into their house. But if the owner of the house knew exactly the
hour that the thief would break in, Jesus said, the owner of the house would have been ready in
order to prevent such an invasion. But, those servants who are found to be living their purpose,
faithfully and with integrity, whenever their master returns, will be blessed with the reversal of
roles. The master will have the servants sit down to eat and they will be served by Him. Later in
Luke, Jesus will tell his disciples that he was among them as one who serves. 2

As we await the sure and certain return of Christ, how can we get dressed for action and stay
dressed? How can we keep the lamps of our souls lit, so that we can open the doors of our hearts,
some which are locked, to our Savior when He knocks—whenever He knocks?
One answer is faith. Our epistle, in the Letter to the Hebrews, reminds us that faith is the
assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Christ’s return is hoped for by
those who believe in him, and it has not yet been seen. The other way is to watch and wait for
Jesus with intentionality.

Watch and wait for Jesus as you worship in this faith community—in the hymns sung to the
glory of God; in the reading of holy scripture; in the prayers offered to God; in the passing of the
Peace and in the breaking of the bread. Watch and wait for Jesus as you show up in the world as
his hands and feet, loving your neighbors, giving generously to those in need and respecting the
dignity of every human being. Watch and wait for Jesus in the silence of your heart. Look for
him to knock on those doors within your soul that prevent you from living your life in the
fullness of Christ’s love and joy.

As we watch and wait, there will be times along each one of our spiritual journeys when the
watching and the waiting seem like an eternity. In those times, let us lean on one another in this
community of faith, to remind each other to remain faithful to focusing on things of the eternal.
That by our faith that we watch and wait—together—with the expectant hope of our risen Lord’s
return. And, as we come to the holy table to be nourished by the body and blood of Christ, we
are given a foretaste of the heavenly banquet where Jesus’ faithful servants will be served by

Just as my fellow whale watchers helped to train my eyes to see the whales moving about us
(even when they were not visible), the community of faith equips those who are waiting and
watching for glimpses of Christ to appear in each other, in the faces of strangers, and in the

So that in those unexpected times, when the eternal presence of Christ breaks into our temporal
lives, Christ’s light may be witnessed by those who have been formed, within their faith
community, with the eyes to see Him and the hearts to receive Him when he knocks—however
He shows up and whenever He shows up.

Ready or not, Jesus is coming to judge the world. And when he comes again, it will be, for those
who believe in Him, a divine break-in. It will be the long-hoped-for in-breaking of God’s
heavenly kingdom into this earthly realm—God’s heavenly kingdom where no thief comes near,
and no moth destroys.

May it be so.

1 Exodus 12:11-12
2 Lk 22:27.