Then Jesus told them a parable. 'Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
(Church in Wales Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)
This little parable only appears in Luke's Gospel. Jesus commands his disciples to see what is likely to happen in the near future. The nation is under threat and indeed in AD 66 when the Jews rebelled against their Roman masters, the Emperor Nero dispatched an army to restore order. By AD 70 the Roman legions had surrounded Jerusalem, then the Temple was destroyed and the people killed or enslaved.
But Christians have taken this little parable to refer to the Second Coming of Christ, when the Kingdom of God will be fully complete. Jesus says we are to stay awake and not be so settled and comfortable with the things of this world that we're not prepared to stand before Christ at a moment's notice.
So the word we need to have in our minds is "Watch!" We are to keep our eyes open and watch and pray; we are to watch that we don't sin (and confess our sin when we do); we are to watch for times to learn more about God; we are to watch for opportunities to do good; and we are to watch for the opportunity to praise God.
You have taught us that Your
Kingdom of Love
is both here and not here.
Help us to keep awake
and not get so settled
into this life on earth
that we forget to
watch out for Your coming.
This video on Parables and why Jesus uses them is really good, and worth watching: