What if Jesus isn’t coming back soon?
For many Christians, the hope and promise of the imminent return of Christ is just about the only thing that sustains them on a daily basis.
They see the world becoming more secular and they experience great discomfort as the culture starts to become less “Christian” and more hostile to their worldview.
As a result, many of these Christians cling to the idea that Jesus will return any moment now to vindicate them, rescue them from this pagan culture and whisk them away to heaven where they will be much more comfortable and will never have to suffer the ungodly world they were born into any longer.
But, what if this isn’t going to happen? What then?
I’m not suggesting that Jesus will NEVER return. But I am suggesting that He might not be coming back in our lifetime.
And if Jesus isn’t coming back soon, then what should we be doing now?
Keep in mind that for more than 2,000 years, every Christian who believed that Jesus was coming back soon was dead wrong.
Jesus did not return when Christians were being put to death by the Romans. He did not return during the Spanish Inquisition when Christians were tortured for disagreeing with the Catholic Church on their doctrines. Jesus did not return during the Dark Ages, or during the Black Plague. He did not return to stop World War 1. He also did not return when Hitler took power and began to advance an empire that very closely mirrored the Beast and the Anti-Christ we see in Revelation.
Imagine how many Christians must have been convinced that Hitler was the fulfillment of the End Times prophecies they had read about in their Bibles? Or Stalin? Or Idi Amin?
But every single one of them was wrong.
If Jesus isn’t coming back today, or tomorrow, or anytime in the next 100 years, then you and I need to reconsider our calling.
This means we’re not supposed to sit around waiting for Jesus to come back and make it all better.
Instead, we have been given a mission. It’s this:
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Jesus [Matt. 28:18-20]
Jesus also gave us a warning about what would happen to those servants who are found asleep at the wheel when their master returns, and it isn’t pretty. [See Luke 12:47]
Here’s the hard truth: If the culture we live in is not becoming more like the Kingdom of God, that’s our fault. Those who do not know the Lord, as we do, are not responsible for living up to His standards. But we – the people of God, who know full well who the Lord Jesus is and what His plans for changing the world look like – are absolutely responsible for teaching people around us how to follow Jesus.
Our mission is to be an example of Jesus to those around us, and to put on display the manifold wisdom of God.
We are the ones who are called to love one another, and to love our enemies, and to bless those who curse us, and to put the teachings of Jesus into daily practice.
The whole point of all of this is to demonstrate that Jesus really is a better King than any other ruler on this planet. Our mission is to point people to another way of living and another code of ethics that rivals anything this world has to offer.
The good news is that if we are living this way and putting the teachings of Jesus into practice when He does eventually return, we won’t be ashamed at His appearing. We won’t have to make any excuses about why we were just waiting around for Him to come back and fix everything.
If Jesus returns tomorrow, may He find us busy and obedient to His commands to love and serve.
If Jesus doesn’t return, may we fully commit ourselves to making the most of the time we have been given to influence our world with the Gospel, and to reflect the glory of our risen King.
Jesus might not return in your lifetime. But at the end of your lifetime, you will see Him face-to-face.
What do you want Him to say to you on that day? I know I want to hear:
“Well done, my good and faithful servant. Enter into the rest that is prepared for you, my son.”