Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning— lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.
These are Jesus' words to His disciples as He is headed toward the events that will lead to His crucifixion and resurrection. The main teaching He focuses on is the surprising imminence of His return again to earth. Jesus makes a big deal about His disciples being ready and "awake" at His return. It is even more poignant given that in just a few hours He would find His disciples sleeping at the moment of His betrayal (Mark 14:37-42).
I've always been intrigued by the fact that Jesus spent so much time explaining details of His second coming to the disciples as He prepared to go to the cross. It is as if He wants to bolster them doctrinally to withstand the shock, pain, and humiliation to come. And I have to say that Jesus emphasizing eschatology at a time like this in the gospel narrative has kept me a dispensationalist in the premillennial camp for all my life. I have good friends who aren't there, but I think the easiest hermeneutic taking the text at what it says leads me to conclude that Jesus is talking about a coming for His disciples, followed by the great tribulation, followed by Him coming to establish His kingdom and to rule and reign over all the earth. A simple reading of the texts, particularly these words from Jesus, convince me to reject covenant theology's cut and paste job with interpretation regarding eschatology.
So as I head into a New Year, it is good to "stay awake". The Master of the house may return. The voice that announced this truth to His disciples on the night He was betrayed is the same voice that predicted His own death and resurrection that accomplished salvation for all who believe. It is equally authorative on eschatology. And I will believe Jesus when He says He will return for His own and it will be a total surprise. I must stay awake with that thought. My obedience to Jesus must not grow slack.