The Return of Christ

Peter, James, John, and all the other original apostles were convinced they would be alive when Jesus returned. The Apostle Paul believed he would witness the event. In reality, believers in every generation since the Ascension have believed that their generation was the generation that would see Christ return.

So far they have all been wrong.

Rev. Camping was wrong.

Every generation of believers have been convinced Jesus would return in their lifetime. Yet, Jesus still has not returned. There are at least two possible reactions to this:

First is the reaction of the skeptic. The skeptic mocks and laughs and ridicules and throws “Judgment Day” parties. The skeptic uses false predictions as another reason not to believe. As if they needed another reason.

Second is the reaction of the faithful. The faithful disciple of Christ recognizes that the purpose of the reality of Jesus’ return is not to predict a date but to change behavior. If I am convinced that Jesus could return at any time, and if I am even more convinced that He will return in my lifetime, that will affect how I live my life! It will affect my ethics. It will affect my attitudes. It will affect my budget and my priorities. It will affect how I love my wife and kids and how I serve my community. It will affect how I teach my students at school and how I pastor my church.

If, on the other hand, I believe Jesus could return at any time, but deep down I think it is still a long way off in the future, or I don’t really think about it until I hear a sermon or someone makes another prediction, then that will affect my behavior as well.

Maybe, what all this means is that the when and the how of Jesus’ return is not so much about eschatology as it is about ethics.

My granddad was in his 90s when he died. I don’t know if I have ever met anyone who believed he would witness Jesus’ return more than he did. He prayed for it and talked about it daily. I heard him numerous times say in the mornings, “Today could be today,” and he was genuinely excited about it. Later in life, when he became sick, he wanted to sit, and sleep, by a window, so he could look outside and see Jesus coming through the clouds. My granddad would have never predicted a date, but if he were still alive, he would have been brokenhearted that Rev. Camping was wrong. I believe he would have cried like a child who just learned Christmas had been cancelled.

I want to be like my granddad and live each day convinced Jesus could return today.

Many believers woke up this past Sunday and sarcastically said to others or posted on facebook, “Everybody still here?” or something to that effect. I doubt very seriously they asked that question again Monday morning, but they should have; and they should ask that question again Tuesday morning, Wednesday morning, Thursday morning, Friday morning, Saturday morning, Monday morning……..


4 thoughts on “The Return of Christ

  1. Well said, Kevin. Last week in our church a 16 year old highschooler went for a skateboard ride, fell, and suffered a life ending head injury. No one would have predicted his life on this earth would have ended when it did.
    The fact is that none are guaranteed one more day on this earth, whether they leave due to death or the Rapture. As sinners, we all have a tendency to live as if we are promised tomorrow, when we should be living as if today is our last day. I am chief among those who make this mistake. Praise God through Christ I have the promise of a Heavenly Forever even though I don’t have the promise of an Earthly Tomorrow.

  2. We should always look froward to his return but never anticipate some date from a false prophet…………….

  3. Good stuff Kevin. We lost a friend on May 13th to a tragic car accident. He left a wife on 4 young boys behind. The following Sunday I read through Job and was clearly reminded again that God’s ways are higher and when I don’t understand I have to trust him. This event has brought my heart back into focus. I hope it can stay there.

    Thanks again for this conversation. I hope we can all more earnestly pray – Even so Lord Jesus, come!

  4. Very well stated – I just said some of the same things to a nonbeliever friend. It is NOT about dates and fear but about changing the way we live – moving forward with the time we have left to bring our actions and thoughts into perfect alignment with His.

    Thanks for your writings. May we all “work till Jesus comes!”

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