The End is Coming, The End is Coming: Why Is Everyone So Preoccupied With That?

Posted: March 11, 2015 in Gospel of Luke
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Luke 12:35-48 — Remember when you were a teenager and your parents were leaving town for the weekend and were going to let you stay home by yourself. You played nice til you knew they were clearly out of the area and then….PARTY TIME! You lived like a slob. You walked around the house with the music blaring, pizza crusts left where you finished the pizza. The chores they left you oh those can wait. You call all your friends for the biggest party ever. After the wild party, and your parents are on the way home. Only then do you begin to get the house cleaned up and get the chores done. This concept made Tom Cruise a star in the movie, Risky Business. We all remember those days. It is, in fact, a great illustration for today’s passage.

When will Christ return in all His glory? We, as Christians, often wonder when this will be? Even those that fancy themselves as high and mighty religious leaders have even boldly predicted when Christ will return.

First, there were those during the time of Paul’s ministry, not long after the life of Jesus, who had become Christ followers who thought the end was near and quit living their lives which prompted, in part, Paul to write the letter that now is known as the book of the New Testament known as Thessalonians. In about 90 AD, St. Clements predicted the imminent end of the world. In 365 AD, Hilary of Poitiers predicted the end of the world would happen that year. In 500 AD, many Christians believed that was the year the earth would end. In 968 AD, a total eclipse of the sun left people believing that the world would end that year. January 1, 1000 was another year in which many believed the world would end. In the 1033, many thought because it was the 1000th anniversary of Christ’s crucifixion that the world would end. In 1284, Pope Innocent III predicted the end of the world would happen that year because it was 666 (the mark the beast) years after the founding of Islam. In 1346 and the years following it, because of the spread of the Black Plague across Europe, many thought the end of the world was imminent. 1832, Joseph Smith founder of the church that would morph into what is now known as the Mormons predicted the end would that year and when that missed, he said it would end in 1891. In 1914, when “the war to end all wars” (World War I) began, many believed it was the final battle of Armageddon and that the end was near (of course that world war was finally given a number because it was not the end of the world and was not the war to end all wars). The WatchTower Society has predicted the earth would end in eight different predictions over the last 100 years. They gave up on predicting the end it seems in 1994. The turn of the millenium on January 1, 2000 many thought was it too. Harold Camping, the Christian broadcaster made 3 different predictions in 2011 and 2012. All came and went. So, this predicting business of the end of the world has pretty much lost all credibility. It has become the “boy who cried wolf” fable of the ages.

But Christ did say that He would return. In this passage and others, Jesus Himself predicts that He will return one day to end it all. He has revealed this to John in vision that caused him to write Revelation. So why doesn’t He come? In Matthew 24:36, Jesus tells us though that only the Father knows the day and the hour of His return. We will not be able to predict when. Why is that so many people spend so much time in trying to find clues in Revelation and each is misinterpreted. We want there to be some connection to the events during our own lives on earth. That way we can know when the end is coming. Why do you think that is? I think it is because many of us don’t want to get serious about Jesus until we know His return is just around the corner. Many so called Christians, who are not really, use Revelation symbolism to scare people to church which is not exactly how Jesus envisioned people coming to Him. Ultimately, a Christ follower should not be scared of the return of Christ.

Christ’s unexpected return is not to catch us in a trap. In fact, I would venture to say that God is delaying the end of time to give all non-believers every opportunity to come unto Him through Jesus Christ. In 2 Peter 3:9, Peter says, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” Jesus’ warning here is that we should not be looking for signs or indicators for His return and just then begin to clean up the house like the teenager who throw the big party while his parents are away.

Jesus tells us that we should live our lives as if He is coming back at any time not just get our spiritual house in order because we see signs of Jesus returning. We should live our lives like He is coming back tomorrow. So, what if He does not come tomorrow. We will live that day too is if He is coming the next day. We must watch for Him but continue to live as He commanded. We know from 2 Peter 3:9 that God wants to give us every opportunity to turn from our prideful ways and submit our hearts to Him through Jesus. We know from Luke 12:1-12 that those who deny Jesus will be rejected if they go to their grave denying Him. With our belief in Christ as our Savior comes the responsibility to spread the gospel, to witness to others and lead them to Christ. In Matthew 28:19, he says go and make disciples. It is an imperative command. He did not say just when you want to or when you have time or whenever its convenient. He says go. He says make disciples. Let us not worry about our place or what will happen at the end of time. I don’t care when the end of time comes. I really don’t. I know that my place is secure in God’s hand. Revelation is scary for the non-believer but for the believer we can look forward to Revelation 21-22. There is no more beautiful thing that description of the end time for the believer. We don’t have to worry about all the ugly stuff of Revelation 4-20, our place is secure. Our urgency should be to share the gospel with others so that they too can enjoy the establishment of the new Jerusalem at the end of time as we know it. We should have urgency about that not about trying to read tea leaves as to what figure in Revelation represents what figure in our day and time.

At the end of Revelation, John says in 22:20, “Come quickly, Lord Jesus!” That is our wish too my friends, but we have Matthew 28:19 work to do because God is all 2 Peter 3:9 on the world and desperately desires nonbelievers as many as possible to come to Him before He releases Revelation 4-20. Live like He is coming tomorrow. Work with urgency to witness to others about Jesus as if He is. As we football players say at the end of the huddle to call the next play, “Ready. Break!” Let us get to work.

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