Jesus promised to return for us. John 14:1-3 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” This is a great promise! Many of the early disciples thought that He would return in their lifetime. But it has been almost 2,000 years since Jesus was crucified and arose from the dead.
Is Jesus really going to return? The apostle Peter anticipated that question. 2 Peter 3:3-4 “Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.’” It sounds like today. If people are not saying these words, they are living them with their lives. In other words, they are living their lives as if the world is going to continue on forever and Jesus will not return. Continuing with verses 5-6: “For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water.” This is talking about the flood that came upon the earth to destroy it and kill everyone except Noah, his family, and the animals he had in the ark. At that time the people were living their lives as if nothing would ever happen. But God chose to destroy the world with a flood to bring an end to that evil generation. The same thing is going to happen again. God is going to destroy the world, but this time it is going to be with fire. Verse 7: “But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.”
When is Jesus returning? No one knows. Only God the Father knows. Here is what Jesus said. Matthew 24:36-44 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
If we knew when Jesus was returning, we might be tempted to wait until the last hour to get ready for Him. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6 “But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.”
Since we believe that Jesus is going to return and since we don’t know when that is going to happen, we must live our lives being prepared at all times for his return. We must watch and be ready. 1 Peter 4:7 “But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.” We must be patient and not give up. James 5:7-8 “Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.”
Whether Jesus returns in your lifetime or you die first, He is going to return. An accident or illness can come into your life and your life may soon be ended. The apostle Paul gave the following exhortation. Romans 13:11-14 “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” Purify your life. Make no provision for the flesh to fulfill its lusts. Be ready.
2 Peter 3:10-14 “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless.” My encouragement to you is that you be found at peace with God – that you be without spot and blameless. That way, you will be ready for the return of Jesus.