3 Essentials Everyone Should Know About Jesus' Return
Kristen Wisen - Women’s Bible Study Teacher
Have you ever turned on the news and thought to yourself, “Jesus must be coming soon — things are really getting crazy?” Then you hear something about implanted microchips and you’re pretty sure He’s right around the corner. Take it one step further: Google “end of the world” and you’ll have reading material for years to sort through. From prophecies by Leonardo DaVinci to Doomsday Clocks to Rapture Letter Templates, there’s enough information to make even the strongest skeptic consider digging a bunker in their back yard.
This is not a new concern for the church. If you study the letters to the church at Thessalonica, you’ll see that in the first century things were shockingly bad enough for that congregation to think they’d missed Jesus’ return. So what’s a Christian to do?
Hope in the Face of Uncertainty
Here’s one thing I know for sure: there are too many theories, too many timelines and way too many opinions to wade through in a blog post. So why write on Jesus’ return? Because the return of Christ is the great hope of the church — it is our motivation for righteous living:
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. Titus 2:12-14
If we are instructed to look for it, then we’d better start talking about it. When Jesus came the first time, the leaders of Israel were looking for a messiah. They took the Old Testament concept of a messiah, fleshed it out in their mind what he should be like and then waited. When Jesus came, He didn’t fit their mind’s messiah and bottom line, not only did they miss it but in their rejection of Jesus, they fulfilled the very prophecies they supposedly knew backwards and forwards.
This is a frightening concept. If they missed the signs, is it possible we could miss them, too? Of course it’s possible, but we have a great advantage that the Pharisees and scribes didn’t have. We have the Holy Spirit who permanently indwells believers, and one of His many responsibilities is to help us understand God’s Word. As we study God’s Word, He enlightens our mind and clarifies the Word for us.
For some reason, though, when it comes to the parts of Scripture that address the End Times, we throw out all our common sense and change the way we read and study, which only confuses us more. That needs to stop. We need to read all Scripture consistently and when there are things we don’t understand, we can compare it with other passages for clarity or we might even have to step back and admit that there are some things that we simply don’t understand at this present moment. I believe it will get clearer as the day approaches.
So may I suggest we start our preparation for Jesus’ return by seeing what Jesus had to say and work from there?
1. Jesus promised to come back.
Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself… John 14:1-3a
As Jesus was finishing the Last Supper with the disciples, He knew what was weighing heavy on their hearts and He sought to comfort them with His promise to come again. This promise is for us, as well. As we walk through this broken world, the great hope in our hearts is that this brokenness will be set right and all will be made new one day. Though Jesus is not physically with us today, He promised to return and take us to a new home that He’s prepared for us. This thought should be a source of not only comfort but expectancy in our life. Like a vacation that you can’t wait to begin, our eternity with the Lord is something to long for, to look forward to, to dream about.
2. Jesus promised to be with us.
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Matthew 28:19,20
His promise to return sounds like we’re on our own in the meantime, doesn’t it? This might actually increase our anxiety…if it were true. But Jesus also promised to be with us. The last recorded words of Jesus as He ascended to heaven were that He would be with us “…always, even to the end of the age.” These were intended to bring us comfort and confidence as well.
If Jesus returned to heaven to prepare a home for us, but He also promised to be with us, how exactly does that actually work? Well, remember, Jesus is God - He’s not like us. He’s omnipresent, which means He’s everywhere. He’s omniscient, which means He knows everything and He’s omnipotent, which means He is able to do whatever He pleases - no boundaries. So He has given us His Spirit to live within us - FULL TIME, fulfilling His promise to be with us always. His Spirit leads us, guides us, convicts us and helps us understand the Word.
3. Jesus promised we’ll be with Him forever.
… for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. John 14:3
The end game is eternity with the Lord, and truth be known, that’s really just the beginning. Jesus wants us with Him - He paid for us and He’s coming back to get us, so that we can be with Him. This is a beautiful promise, that is meant to carry us through valleys and dark days, as well as be our motivator for vertical living. Knowing these three things is a great starting place to build on your knowledge of Jesus’ return.
Further suggested reading: Matthew 24 and 25, Luke 21, II Thessalonians 2, I Thessalonians 5