30 Dec Advent Week 5 | The Promise of Jesus’ Return
“And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” —LUKE 21:27-28
But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. —2 PETER 3:8-14
The Promise of Jesus’ Return
For many of us, Christmas Day is one of the most important days of the entire year, which is obvious given the intense amount of preparation that often goes into it. We adjust schedules, plan, and budget months in advance. Family members travel in from far away. Decorations are perfectly placed, menus are planned, and gifts are purchased, wrapped, and hidden. There is intentionality, joy, and anticipation; all because this day is significant. And also because we believe it is a reality.
Christmas isn’t a pretend day; it’s real. We wouldn’t go through all the trouble to prepare if we didn’t believe Christmas was, in fact, an actual day. We trust it to come on the same date every year. Out of love and expectation, we make every necessary preparation, so that when it becomes our reality, we are ready.
“In the fullness of time, He will split the sky and descend to destroy all wickedness, receive the worship that is rightfully His, and usher in a new age—the beginning of unbroken, unending fellowship with Him.”
We spend months preparing to celebrate and remember Christ’s first coming. How much more should we seek to be ready for His second coming? That day, too, is a reality; an absolute certainty. Unlike Christmas Day, which happens every December 25, only the Father knows the day and hour His Son will return. But He is coming. In the fullness of time, He will split the sky and descend to destroy all wickedness, receive the worship that is rightfully His, and usher in a new age—the beginning of unbroken, unending fellowship with Him. We should believe in, think about, look to, and prepare for that day.
Once More We Wait
The day of Jesus’ return is certain and coming, but—so far—it is not today. We find ourselves much like the Israelites long ago—waiting. Which begs the question: How then shall we wait?
Peter asks and answers this very question in his second letter. In love, he reminds his readers that, though the days seem long and weary in the waiting, God is not slow in keeping His promise. He assures them of the absolute reality of the appointed day when Jesus will return. And he then tells them exactly what kinds of lives they are to live in light of this coming day—lives of holiness, godliness and hopeful expectation.
Peter’s exhortations are just as much for us today as they were for the believers he wrote to long ago. We too are living in the days of God’s patient mercy. We need to be reminded that really believing in and looking toward the reality of Jesus’ return changes the way we live. It reorients our hope and perspective. It creates a sense of urgency and sobriety, as well as giddy anticipation —just like a child who cannot wait for Christmas morning.
“We need to be reminded that really believing in and looking toward the reality of Jesus’ return changes the way we live. It reorients our hope and perspective.”
Let us, the people of God, be found ready in the waiting. As this Advent season comes to a close, take some time to reflect on how the reality of Jesus’ return affects the way you live. May your heart be full and your eyes bright as you hope all things in Christ and look to His coming. Take heart, beloved. It won’t be long.
How does your life reflect your belief that Jesus will return? Is it something you think about and long for? If not, why do you think that is?
What do you think of when you hear or read the words “be diligent”? What does it look like for you to be diligent in pursuing holiness and godliness? In what areas do you need to fight and flee from sin? In what areas do you need to cultivate love for God and love for others?
Read Romans 8:22-25. Compare it to Revelation 21:1-7. What future birth do we await? How does looking expectantly to the promised return of Jesus affect the way you see your present circumstances?