Today we focus on one of common beliefs shared by the writers of the New Testament portion of The Bible: Jesus Christ is returning soon.
Today's Devotional Scripture
"The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled; so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms." (1 Peter 4:7-10, New International Version)
Only God the Father knows
None of us know the exact year, day, hour, minute or second that Jesus Christ will return to earth. Jesus said so in Matthew 24:36: "But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."
More importantly, Jesus and the New Testament writers focused on the urgency of being prepared for His return. This fact is quite clear if we examine the verses following Matthew 24:36. Jesus uses the flood recorded in the Old Testament as a reference point.
"As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man," explains Jesus. "For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left."
Can you hear the people during Jesus' time on earth and today asking: "So what should we do?"
Preparation and Not Procrastination
Jesus provides the answer in the next three verses of Matthew 24. “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come, He says. "But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him." (Matthew 24:42-44)
The Apostle Peter, like other New Testament writers, focuses on the issue of urgency and the preparations needed so we are ready for Christ's return. In 1 Peter 4:7-9, he provides a list of actions and attitudes we should have and then in verse 10 he provides the goal or objective.
The list of attitudes and attributes include:
- Be clear minded and self-controlled. Why? It makes it easier to pray with focus and intent.
- Love each other deeply. Why? Because love covers a multitude of sins.
- Don't grumble when you are helping others. Why? Jesus had the attitude of a servant who came to serve.
The goal or objective is to use whatever gifts God has given us to serve others, because it is a sign of God's grace at work in the world.
Through this series of devotionals, I have encouraged those preparing for Easter to read the scriptures and pray. Other passages on this topic you should read include:
- Romans 13:8-14
- Philippians 4:4-9
- James 5:7-9
- Revelation 1:1-3, 22:18-21
Jesus could return at any time. It could be when we convene to worship and celebrate Easter. It could happen tomorrow or next week or in 2022. We don't know the exact date or time, but we should be prepared for the Lord Jesus Christ's return. In the meantime, let's celebrate with the attached video by the Newsboys and remember that "He reigns"!
Heavenly Father, I praise you that you are the Giver of all gifts. Help me to pray diligently at all times. Help me to love others deeply. Help me to be hospitable without grumbling, and to use the gifts you've given me to serve others. In the name of Jesus. Amen.