Friday, October 1, 2010

Bringing Jesus’ Return

Several days ago I talked about how most people (when truly, deeply honest) don't believe Jesus is going to return today, tomorrow, or even in their own lifetime. That, as I said is a very sad state in which we find the church and me today. Something I didn't really talk about in that post though is why He hasn't come already. Why am I even here on the earth to even contemplate these questions?

Jesus even said in Mark 13 "I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened" referring to the end times. Of course, "generation" is a somewhat ambiguous term in Greek. It could mean that specific generation, their descendants, or an entire race. However, it would seem Jesus was trying to show the importance of "being on our guard" (verse 33) in the context of chapter 13 in Mark. So, I tend to lean toward the expectation it would be very soon. Also, other writers including Paul seem to expect Christ to return during their lifetime. And this belief carries into much of the writings of the church fathers. Trust me on this, or better yet, go read for yourself!

So again, if Jesus expected himself to return quickly, then why the hold up? And is this an untruth from Jesus himself? Well, let's look to the same chapter to see what Jesus himself says about this. In verse 10 He says, "the gospel must first be preached to all nations." He also says in verse 32 "no one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." Take these two statements of Jesus together and I think what He is doing is putting the timing of His return on us. It is in our hands as to when He will return. Sound a little nuts? I thought so too. No way God leaves it up to us stupid humans who already spat in his face to determine when He completes His plan for creation. But, then again the whole idea that "the gospel must be preached to all nations" is still hanging around yelling out at us.

If you are anything like me, and I honestly hope you aren't for your sake, then it is likely you have never really heard much about that statement of Jesus. And if you have heard it or read it, you didn't really put too much thought around it. I don't think the apostles or disciples in His day did either. I think they just kind of let it sit there as we do today. I am fairly certain I never once heard a sermon in any of the MANY weeks in several different churches on Mark 13:10. Don't get me wrong, preachers taught on evangelism, missions, and the second coming of Christ. But it seems they stayed away from that verse.

The only reason I can think we avoid it is that it puts way too much responsibility on us. I am just fine with a lot of what it takes to be a Christian. I am somewhat OK with what it takes to be a Christ Follower (if you want a good video on the difference in those two things, go here: But, I am either ill-equipped, scared, or selfish (pretty sure that's the one) to take this statement personally. See, if I do take it personally, then I MUST go and preach the gospel. I am compelled to do so. If this one verse isn't enough, Jesus gives us the Great Commission in Matthew 28. Twice, at least, Christ himself tells us to preach to all nations. It isn't something for just a few us; it is for ME, You and anyone who claims Jesus as savior.

Like I said, I think for me it is all about selfishness that keeps me from going out and boldly preaching the gospel to all nations (and don't just think foreign missions, this is local nations too). I don't want to give up my status with my "friends" or decrease my lifestyle in order to freely be able to share the gospel with EVERYBODY, EVERYWHERE. After all, what would my co-workers think? What would my friends think? They would think I was nuts, which is basically what Jesus says also in Mark 13.

So, what comes from me being selfish like this? What comes from all of us not being fully committed to EACH share the gospel to ALL NATIONS no matter what the cost to us personally? The delay of Jesus' return to claim us into eternity with Him! Isn't that enough? 2 Peter 3:9 says God is "patient…wanting none to perish." For whatever reason, God has enlisted me and you to be his messengers to this dark world. He is patiently waiting on us. I want to be done with being slave to this world, this earthly existence and see Him face to face! If that is the way I feel, then I can help to speed His return. It just means letting go of this world and its concerns and taking the mission Jesus gave to us. We have stalled it for over 2000 years. Maybe NOW is the time for us all to hasten His return! Oh, and sorry for the book on this post. Got a little heated on this one. ;-)