BY: MARK HAUTH
Bible Text: Acts 1:11: “‘…While they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go in to heaven.”‘
2 Timothy 4:8: “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
PERSONAL REFLECTION: I remember being a boy of around nine or ten and hearing a sermon in church for the first time about how Jesus was coming back soon. In my childlike excitement, I would often look up at the sky and those puffy white clouds thinking, maybe today? What would it BE like? What would He LOOK like? What would it FEEL like to be caught up to meet the Lord in the air? To tell you the truth I still catch myself looking up, and I just love the scriptures that speak of the wonder of His second coming.
Over time, though, I’ve noticed a trend in some churches today. Many of them have moved on to to more “practical” issues — less “pie-in-the-sky” stuff. Leave that to the wild-eyed prophecy prognosticators. We need to be “culturally relevant.” After all, it’s been two thousand years since He left the earth and it could be at least that many more before He comes again. At at any rate, it just doesn’t concern us. Yawn.
Actually, though, THAT attitude is what typifies the time before He finally does return: “…scoffers will come in the last days…saying, ‘where is the promise of His coming?’” (2 Peter 3:4). This was the mindset of the wicked servant in Jesus’ parable about the talents — the one who hid his mina. That story really has less to do with money and more about the expectation of the servant that the Master really WOULD return. The servant who hid the talent really didn’t expect him to come back…not any time soon.
When Jesus spoke of His return to earth in glory it was always in terms of imminency. It could happen when you least expect it. As believers, we are promised a blessing in studying and learning about His glorious appearing (Rev. 1:3). And there’s a promise in 1 John that says that “when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is, and everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. The best way to BE ready is to STAY ready.
Personal Application: Loving His appearing holds a purifying hope and keeps our minds and thoughts centered on the person of Jesus and His coming kingdom. If we truly expect Him to come at any moment, it affects the way we think and the way we live.
PRAYER: Lord, rekindle the excitement we had when we first heard of your Second Coming: the promise that You have made room in the Father’s House for us and that one day You will come again and receive us to Yourself, that where You are, we may be also (John 14:3). Don’t let us slip into the attitude that Your appearing is so far off that we can live any way we want. Help us to live purposefully for You, knowing your coming could literally be today. Amen.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Mark lives in the Hermitage area with Wendy,his wife of 26 years. They are both quickly becoming empty-nesters. Several years ago they recorded an album titled, Steadfast Heart. They have been attending Life Assembly since about 2008. He still enjoys songwriting, composing instrumentals, playing keys, guitar, and trumpet/flugelhorn, and recording at his home studio. Check out his FlugelHymns project on iTunes!