Archive for February, 2008
Jesus is Coming. Part II
It’s probably the most balanced world-view you could ever have – a hope and yearning for the return of our Lord and Maker, Jesus Christ.
In signing off the epic, last book of the Bible, Revelation, Jesus said, “I am coming quickly,” and John responded with, “Yes, come Lord Jesus.”
As long as I can remember, whenever I have looked up at the skies, and pondered the stars at night, or eyed the clouds by day, my thoughts have often drifted to the Jesus Christ’s return.
See, two thousand years ago Jesus’ followers also stood there looking intently into the sky as He ascended to heaven. Suddenly two angels appeared among them and asked “Why do you stand there looking into the sky?” They then went on to say that Jesus would return in the same way they had seen Him go.
Unfortunately over the ages, expectations of Jesus’ return have gone beyond what the scriptures actually tell us. Jesus simply explained to his followers that no one knows the day or the hour of his return. Yet persisting even today there are still would-be prophets peddling specific dates and times.
Prediction addiction and such speculation often result in subverting a believer’s relationship with the Lord. Being primarily focussed on end-time events, it is easy to neglect “the weightier matters” of, for example, justice, mercy and faith — the important things in the here and now.
On the other hand, we should not be ignorant of the times in which we live.
From what we understand, Jesus was born at a time of heightened Messianic expectation. A remarkable example of this was recorded by Luke when the baby Jesus was taken to the temple.
“And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. And this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel. And the Holy Spirit was on him.
And it happened to him, being instructed by the Holy Spirit, he was not to see death before he would see the Christ of the Lord.
And he came by the Spirit into the temple. And as the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do according to the custom of the Law concerning Him, even he received Him in his arms and blessed God, and said, Lord, now You will let Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word.
For my eyes have seen Your Salvation which You have prepared before the face of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the nations, and the glory of Your people Israel.” (Luke 2:25-32 MKJV)
It seems that Simeon knew with absolute certainty that he would see the Messiah in his lifetime! Perhaps this was something that he had wondered about for many years.
We also know that wise men travelled from afar after witnessing a star in the eastern sky; they too were familiar with the ancient prophecies that related to the Messiah’s coming. In fact, the Bible notes that Enoch, only seven generations from Adam, spoke of the Lord’s coming.
Today, we are privy to not only having the prophecies of old, but also of Jesus’ own words when He repeatedly said: “I am coming soon.” Various parables Jesus told echoed that promise. For example, Jesus began a narrative with, “A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive a kingdom for himself, and to return.” (Luke 19:12 MKJV)
In telling these simple parables, Jesus often pointed to a greater truth, of which He is the focus.
Jesus wants us to be waiting and expectant, no matter where we are in history. Our thoughts and affections are to be Christ-centred; He wants us to love Him with all our heart, all our mind, all our soul and all our strength. He wants us to be about His work daily, sharing the good news and effecting care in the lives of others.
There’s no need to feel apologetic when we pray, for example, “Your kingdom come…” or find ourselves asking with child-like anticipation, “Are we there yet?” Unfortunately most people today take no thought of Jesus, let alone of His return.
The question is, will you recognise Jesus’ coming? Are you ready?
Because scriptures indicate that many, in fact, will mourn his coming – be it they don’t recognise Him, don’t want His authority, or even want to oppose Him.
The truth is, Jesus’ coming is the best news we could ever hear.
In the meantime, live expectantly. Let your faith be unfading. And, enjoy each day as another one yet closer to when He surely does return.
By John Klassek