Summary: We might ache for the redemption of creation, but James calls us to wait patiently.
Patiently waiting for Christ’s Return
What are you going to do when Spring finally comes? – tell your neighbour
What are you going to do when Christ finally comes? – tell your neighbour
The New Jerusalem
1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with people, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
5He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."
6He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To those who are thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7Those who overcome will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. …
22I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. 24The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. 25On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. 26The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. 27Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
There are times that we can get impatient for this time of the true new world order.
As we watch the news and see the build up for war in Iraq, an think that more problems may be caused by this war than are solved, as we watch the escalating troubles in Israel, as we see millions dying in the AIDS crisis in Africa, as we read about violence on our own streets, and immorality in the media, there can be a longing for the day when Christ will return, and the trumpet will sound and all will be made right.
There are times when we ache for Jesus to return and give us the new world the way that it was designed to be, where there is no need for guns, and weapons of mass destruction, where there is no need for pharmaceuticals because there are no diseases to cure.
Often times we get impatient for ourselves – as our bodies breakdown, as disease takes over, as we watch a loved one suffer because of disease or disability, the idea of having a new body right now sounds awfully good.
As we see our own shortcomings, our struggle with sin, our inability to get over past hurts, our inability to show the grace of God to the extent that we would like, we get impatient and want Jesus to return right now and transform us into the people that we should be! It may not be peace in the middle east that we are so concerned about as much as peace in our home or in our place of work, or even in our own minds.
Our desire for the immediate return of Christ can be the Christian equivalent of “stop the world, I want to get off!”
As we earnestly desire to see Christ’s return, James writes to us…
7Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. 8You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. 9Don’t grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!
10Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.