Section 4: Jesus
Week 4: Jesus Rose from the Dead, Returned to Heaven, and Will Come Again
Day 4: Jesus Will Come Again to Establish His Kingdom
Matt. 24:42-44, John 4:1-3, 1 Thess. 4:13-18, Heb. 9:23-28
Jesus returned to heaven after his resurrection, but the Bible reminds us that Jesus will return to earth one day to establish his kingdom (Rev. 19:11-21). Jesus himself said that we ought to keep watch so that we’re ready for his return (Matt 24:42-44). What did he mean?
When I was a freshman in high school, we weren’t allowed to go into the student lounge. We had to wait until we were juniors. That meant, when we had a study hall, we had to stay in the classroom… kind of a bummer. Those of us who had a drafting class, though, could go into the drafting room to work on our assignments. Now it just so happened that the drafting teacher taught a class in a different room during my study hall time. So, I would go down to the drafting room with some of the other guys to do my drafting homework. And by that I mean to mess around. We’d send someone down to the cafeteria to get food and pop, and we had a good time doing everything except our homework. But we were always careful to have a look out. We didn’t want any teacher to come in and catch us off guard. If a teacher was coming, we wanted to know about it so we had time to stop what we’re doing, grab our homework, and make it look like we were ideal students.
Is that what Jesus meant when he said we ought to be prepared for his return? Be on the lookout so we don’t get caught doing the things we shouldn’t be doing? No…at least not for us as believers. For one, we don’t know the timing of his return (or our deaths, if that should come first). Without some sort of advance warning, we won’t have enough time to make any changes to make ourselves look better (as if that would fool him).
More importantly, though, as believers we’re already supposed to be living lives that are pleasing to him. When we put our faith in Christ, we received the Holy Spirit. Because the Holy Spirit is working in us, our goal isn’t to try to get away with as much as we can for as long as we can. Because of the Holy Spirit’s work in us, we now want to be like Christ. As the result, our lives have been changed. So, we don’t have to worry about Christ’s return catching us by surprise. We are prepared. Not because we have advance warning, but because we have been changed.
Does thinking about Jesus’ return make you happy or nervous? Why? If Jesus paid the full penalty for your sin, should you feel nervous about seeing Him?
As you live through your normal day, try to remind yourself that Jesus could return at any moment. How does that change what you do, think, and feel?