“Hey bro. Do you think Jesus is coming?”
I wasn’t positive what was meant by this text from an old friend. Was he asking about the certainty of His return? Was he talking about the timing? Did he think it happened and maybe we missed it?
His question was about timing – in light of Hurricane Harvey, followed by Irma, followed by Jose; in light of wildfires in the west; in light of an increased hostility toward Christianity. Was the return of Jesus upon us?
In Matthew 24, Jesus gives us several signs to look for regarding the end times. How many of these can we identify with today?
- False prophets (v. 5, 11)
- Wars and rumors of wars (v. 6)
- Famines (v. 7)
- Natural disasters (v. 7)
- Persecution of Christians (v. 9)
- Abandonment of the faith (v. 10)
- Lawlessness (v. 12)
- Lack of love (v. 12)
- Unforgivable blasphemy (v. 15)
- False predictions of the end time (v. 23-27)
- Celestial abnormalities (v. 29)
Certainly a majority of that list is being fulfilled and a case can be made for the entire list being fulfilled today. So that begs the question, “Hey bro. Do you think Jesus is coming?”
Let me start by answering this way: yes. Jesus IS coming. Not only that, we know His return is soon (Revelation 22:12). Granted, “soon” as written in the Greek does not always mean “in a short amount of time.” It can also mean “quickly” or even “unexpectedly.” But the idea is that the return of Christ is going to happen at any moment.
The biggest problem with our reading Matthew 24 or 1 & 2 Thessalonians or Revelation is that we ask the wrong question. We want to know “When is Jesus returning?” But that is not to point of the end time prophecies. The real question we should be asking is “Am I ready?”
Jesus tells us that “concerning that day and hour no one knows” (Matthew 24:36). We focus so much on when Jesus is returning that we miss the point of Jesus words altogether. “Who then is a faithful and wise servant?” (Matthew 24:45). Are you being faithful today, knowing that Jesus WILL return? What in your life needs to change so that you are ready? Have you repented of your sin and received forgiveness from God? Are you fully surrendered to God’s will for your life?
When examining the state of our world, let us spend less time asking, “Does this mean Jesus is coming soon?” Instead ask, “How must I live in light of the fact that Jesus is coming soon?”