Summary: Jesus is not only the incarnate God who was born in Bethlehem, he is also the God who will come again in power and glory. This truth gives our lives a new perspective and a new purpose.
Luke 21:25-36 “Discover The Christ Who Will Come Again”
Spending time with someone gives you the opportunity to discover things about them and get to know them better. This is true for our relationships with each other, and our relationship with God. Not that God needs to learn anything more about us—but the more time we spend in God’s presence, the more God’s divine nature is revealed to us.
During the month of December, we are going to be focusing on the person of Jesus Christ—spending some time with him, if you will. We will move beyond the cutesy Christ Child of Bethlehem with spotless diapers and not so much as a whimper. We will see Jesus from different angles than simply the crucified Christ. Prayerfully our time with Jesus will deepen our faith and firm up our commitment to live as his disciples.
Today we remember that Jesus has made a promise to us—to return, and we will focus on the truth that the Christ of Christmas is a Christ who will come again.
Walking down the streets of Surprise, we are likely to encounter two prevailing views of the world’s future. The first is a rather pessimistic view that the world is going to hell in a hand basket and there isn’t anything that we can do about it. The second agrees that we face significant challenges, but given enough time science and technology will save us.
Our saviors for the last several decades have been science and technology. When our cities were choked smog, technology helped clean the air. When we faced over population science came up with new fertilizers and seeds to create a green revolution. Now we look to science and technology to save us from global warming. I’ve even heard it said that if we can’t cool down the world, science and technology will provide us with the opportunity to colonize surrounding planets.
The view that Jesus shared with his disciples, at first glance, seems vaguely similar to the dooms day scenario, but it is decidedly different. Yes, there will be cataclysmic events in the heavens and on the earth, but in the end Jesus will return as King of kings and Lord of lords in all of his power and glory.
In the same manner that Jesus enters our lives bringing with him both power and peace, he will also return into the affairs of the world and establish his kingdom. Jesus does not bring doom, but rather hope.
The fig tree begins to leaf and we know that summer is near. In a similar way, we know that Jesus’ return is near when we see certain things happening. These do not tell us when he is coming, but rather they accentuate the promise that Jesus made.
Many have made the prediction of Jesus’ coming into big business. Several have become millionaires peddling their wares to a public who wants to know what the future holds. I was caught up with millions of other Christians in attempting to read the signs of the times. I came to realize that it diverted my attention from Jesus’ main commission of proclaiming his gospel and making disciples of all nations.
One of the problems connected with predicting Jesus’ return is that every generation believes that it is the generation in which Jesus will fulfill his promise. The Christians of the first century thought Jesus would return then. Luther thought Jesus would return at his time. Many thought Jesus would return in the late 1800’s, some around 1988, and we can all remember the clamor at the beginning of the millennium.
Predicting the time that Jesus will return is not what Jesus wants his people engaged in. He simply wants us to trust in his promise, take comfort in it and live in its reality.
The times ahead will be scary. Jesus says that men will faint with fear. It will be tempting for us to worry.
Jesus warns against drunkenness and anxiety. Both are not proper or adequate responses to the promise of his return.
The proper response is to live in peace that God is in control and God holds us in the palm of his hand.
Martin Luther said that if he knew that Jesus was going to return the next day he would go out and plant a tree. This surprising response simply underlines the truth that Christians are to live their lives as if Jesus would come any time. We are to each day be about the business of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and serving God by serving people.
The Christ who was born in Bethlehem will return to the history of the world. When Jesus returns, he will not be a humble child, but rather a might King and Lord.
We live in hope and not in dread that Jesus is coming again.