Summary: Exegetical; hard times cause us to long for Jesus’ return, which in turn prepares us for the Second Coming.
Author: J. Clark Sneed
Date: 18 December 2005
Title: Longing for Jesus’ Return
Text: Luke 17:22-27
Dominating Theme: Preparation
Thrust: Be prepared.
“And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and you shall not see it.
The disciples sit with Jesus and listen. If they want, they may reach out their rough hands and touch the warm flesh of their Master. Soon, however, Jesus will be taken from them, and crucified. Three days later the Father raises his Son from the chilly grave, and the risen Son of God spends more time with the apostles before he rises into the clouds. The next chapter of their adventure begins. They will watch the Holy Spirit of God expand his kingdom through God’s Church. This continues through each age, and we too have the warning from God: days are going to come when you long for Jesus’ return.
Let me ask you a question. Does the average believer long more for the Lord’s return during times of plenty or times of want? Times of ease or times of suffering? It is my experience, though not always, that the combination of plenty and ease breeds spiritual lethargy in the kingdom of God. It’s a tragedy that God’s blessings cause us to forget or neglect the Blessor. Do you know where the church is experiencing her greatest growth? Asia. Africa. Latin America. Especially among for poor and persecuted. A Chinese pastor of an oppressed, underground church once met with a visiting American pastor on a mission trip. The American, overwhelmed by the poverty, says to the other, ”we pray for you in your poverty.” The Chinese pastor responds, ”Oh, no, brother. We pray for you in your wealth.“ Here we pray for the persecution to end. I regularly write to the foreign embassies in Washington asking politely but firmly for them to end the persecution of our brothers and sisters in Christ. But many times I’ve been told by these persecuted Christians, ”Don’t pray for the persecution to end. Pray we will endure it faithfully.“ They call it, ”the way of the cross.“ For many, believers expect suffering when they choose Christ. Here we dump as much sugar and honey as we can on religion to appeal to the people. Imagine the heart of your evangelism strategy being ”Jesus will save you from eternal hell, but accepting his free gift will introduce you to a different hell on earth.“
Our verse says, the days will come that you along for my return because the suffering here will be so great. Paul warns his apprentice Timothy in second Timothy 3:1-5: ”this know also. that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.“