Summary: In this series I am attempting to answer questions our congregation submitted. This message speaks to the timing of the 2nd coming of Christ. Though we cannot know the date, we must help others get prepared.
“Jesus When are you Coming Back?”
Matthew 24: 3-14
I hear recently of an older woman was on an airplane and she happened to be seated right beside a young businessman. After the in-flight meal she took out her Bible and starts reading. The businessman glances at her and said. Do you really believe all that stuff in the Bible is true?
"Well, yes, as a matter of fact I do." "the man sort of scoffed, "like... what's that guy's name, you know the one who got swallowed by a whale..." "You mean Jonah?"
"Yeah, Jonah, I mean, how do you actually survive for 3 days in a fish's belly?" "I don't know, but when I get to heaven I’ll ask him…" Feeling kind of smart, the young man said: "Ok, but what if he's not in heaven?” She calmly replied, well then maybe you can ask him.
We are beginning a brand new preaching series today. During the month of December I gave you the opportunity to submit some questions that you would like to ask God. All of us have them. And these are the ones you submitted. (Hold up sheet)
We are certainly not the 1st generation of Christians who have had questions for God. This week I have found 24 questions that were asked of Jesus while He was here on earth and also found that Jesus Himself asked 85 questions Himself, usually to make a point, not because He didn’t know the answers.
Some of these questions were meant to trap Him. The Bible gives us verses like this…”then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words.” Several verses later Jesus is found asking them, “why are you trying to trap me?”
Others were meant to tempt Him. They asked him to turn the stones to bread, they asked Him to jump off a high mountain to prove who He was. Jesus said “man does not live by bread alone” and then He said, ”get away from me Satan!”
Still others remarks were meant to test Him. Jesus was teaching in the temple courts and the chief priests came to him and ask Him, by what authority are you doing these things?” Jesus then turns it around and answered their questions with a question.
Then there were also questions posed to Him by believers who were searching and looking for answers. Just like this group we are looking at today. There is a difference between the kinds of questions asked by believers as opposed to unbelievers. The one today usually comes from a believer. Here it is. V. 3. Put simply, Jesus, when are you coming back? First of all we must be careful when we attempt to set a date for the return of Christ.
The scripture is clear about this…only the Father knows. At the same time, it is OK to ask. Jesus didn’t scold the disciples for asking the question. One of the first questions that comes up when we read this is why didn’t Jesus know when He is coming back? The answer is not simple but I do have one. The Bible tells us that one day God stepped out of heaven and became a man. And when He did we quickly realize that He also chose to place some restrictions on Himself. At least 3 that I see.
(1) He would now feel intense physical and emotional pain. We know that Jesus wept. We know that he prayed so hard that he sweated drops of blood. We know that his pain was so real while He was on the cross that He called out to God and ask why did you forsake me?
(2) He would now know temptation. In Matthew 4 we see that Jesus was tempted 3 times. And we have no reason to believe that these were the only times that He was tempted. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testing we do, yet….. he did not sin.
So could Jesus sin while He was here on earth? Absolutely. Did He? Absolutely not! But I believe that he could. If not then it becomes hard for me to believe that He can identify with how I feel when I am tempted.
(3) He could feel every emotion that we do. As I said, He wept, He experienced great physical pain and He also took all of the sin of mankind upon Himself. Now why would He do this? Simple actually. And get this if you don’t get anything else I say today. Jesus Loves You. We have said those words so often that I am afraid that for many people they really do not understand how deep His love is for us. And because He loves us He also wants us to be able to relate to Him. One of the things that AA has in common with other support groups is that in order to lead a group you have to have been in a group previously. You can’t help others unless you have already been helped. That’s because you don’t have any credibility with people if you haven’t been down the same path. God knows how we feel because He has already walked where we have walked.