Live Like You’re Dying….Or Like Jesus is Coming Back Tomorrow: What Would You Do With It?

Posted: May 7, 2015 in Gospel of Luke

Luke 21:5-38 — Prophetic words from Jesus. Herod’s Temple was the second reconstruction of the Temple and it had been greatly expanded over a 46 year period under his reign. It was a beautiful and imposing structure that towered over the city of Jerusalem. The Temple at Jerusalem had a long history dating back to the 10th century BC. But Jesus said it would be destroyed and no stone of it would be left standing. This happened in 70AD when the Romans, finally fed up with all the unrest in Palestine, sacked Jerusalem and dispersed the Israelites over the Empire. It is interesting that typically prophetic texts in the Bible have both a short term reality and and a long term reality as well. Jesus mixes the present and the future in this text and it would have meaning both to the disciples immediate future there in the 1st century but it also has prophetic meaning for us today in the 21st century.

The thing that comes to mind when reading this passage is a song from several years ago that was a big hit for Tim McGraw. It was entitled, “Live Like You’re Dying.” The chorus of the song goes like this:

“And I loved deeper and I spoke sweeter,
“And I gave forgiveness I’d been denying.”
An’ he said: “Some day, I hope you get the chance,
“To live like you were dyin’.”

He said “I was finally the husband,
“That most the time I wasn’t.
“An’ I became a friend a friend would like to have.
“And all of a sudden goin’ fishin’,
“Wasn’t such an imposition,
“And I went three times that year I lost my Dad.
“Well, I finally read the Good Book,
“And I took a good long hard look,
“At what I’d do if I could do it all again,

For the disciples, Jesus was warning them they would face persecution after Jesus’ death. His death would not be the end of hard times for them. They would all ultimately be betrayed and face death as martyrs for being followers of Jesus Christ. He was also telling them that at some point in the future that Jesus would return in power and glory to judge the world at some unknown time. Jesus says later that only the Father in heaven knows when the right time will be to end the world as we know it. This raises the question that if we don’t know when Christ will return, why don’t must of us living like we are dying.

What if Jesus were to return today? What will He say about the life we are living. If Jesus were to return tomorrow, and you knew their were lost souls out there that were going to be judged for rejecting God or for not knowing God, would it not increase the urgency to witness. What if Jesus were returning tomorrow? Wouldn’t we be more forgiving! Wouldn’t we not hold grudges against friends, family, and neighbors. Would we not place more importance on family than we do now. What if Jesus was returning tomorrow? Wouldn’t we be more willing to take the gospel to places where it needs to be heard. Wouldn’t we risk our lives to see that others know Jesus Christ. Wouldn’t we quit thinking about acquiring more and more things for ourselves and think of leaving an eternal legacy by showering those who carry the gospel message to the world with our financial support. Wouldn’t we spend our money on things that matter in eternity rather than having to have that next greatest thing, rather than having the newest of the new cars. Satan wants us to think that Jesus is never returning so that we become complacent and self-absorbed. What if we lived like Jesus was about to return with the next 24-48 hours. What if? How much our perspective change? How much would our perspective change if we thought, regardless of when Jesus is to return to end all things, we were going to die tomorrow? What forgiveness have you been withholding? What grudge are you holding? What are you waiting on? If you have not accepted Christ as your Savior, what are you waiting on.

Satan wants you to believe that Jesus will not return anytime soon and wants you to believe that you have plenty of time to get your wild oats sowed and then you can deal with Jesus. You’ve got plenty of time. Jesus can wait til next week. What if you were to die today? What if Jesus was about to return to end all things, say, tomorrow? You know there is something to this Jesus thing. The Holy Spirit makes you think about Him on occasion but you listen to Satan. You’ve got plenty of time. Let’s party! Let’s think of ourselves for a little while longer. What if?

The comfort of this passage to the believer is that we are spoken for. We do not have to worry about death or the end of the world. Our eternal future is secure. Non-believers want to know the signs of the end of the world so that they can begin living like their dying once they know but not until then. Even though no Christ follower in his right mind wishes for persecution and death, we do know that if we die today whether it be a natural death, an accident, or during a war, or during a time of Christian persecution to the point of death, we know where we are going. Revelation scares non-believers to death and that’s why they are so concerned with the signs of the end times. For the Christ follower this passage and Revelation tell me that I may suffer but my reward is secure. In that security, I am free to spread the gospel because my death in the cause of spreading the gospel is my gateway to eternally being in the presence of my Savior and Lord!

Even though I am a believer, I am still human. There are still things I need to forgive others for. There are still things I need to seek forgiveness from others for. There are still things that I need to do to spread the gospel that I fear doing now. This passage reminds me that I should live like I am dying. What am I waiting for? What are you waiting for? Let us seek to give God the glory in every word we say, every thing we do, every word we speak, every word we write. Time is short!

Live life like you were dying or Jesus is coming back today? What will you do with it? What will you do with it?

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