Luke 21:5-9 - And while some were speaking of the temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and offerings, He (Jesus) said, "As for these things that you see, the days will come when there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down." And they asked Him, "Teacher, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?" And He said, "See that you are not led astray. For many will come in My Name, saying, 'I am he!' and, 'The time is at hand!' Do not go after them. And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified, for these things must first take place, but the end will not be at once."
It's amazing how many people think they can figure Jesus out and predict the day of His return. He has warned us this is impossible. He says, "But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. ... Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. ... Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect" (Matthew 24:36, 42, 44).
But that doesn't stop some people. Every couple of years, I drive on the freeway here in St. Louis and see a homemade banner stretched across the overpass railing. Usually it is just another crackpot telling us the exact date they expect Jesus to return, as if they could possibly know!
The temptation to try to figure it out—or to listen to someone who says they know—is a real one. So-called "Bible teachers" abound who claim to have future events all timed and plotted out down to the day and hour. Some sell books or giant folding charts, so their followers can keep track of what is supposed to happen next. They are playing on the human fear of the future, and our desire to have secret, esoteric knowledge—to know more than the guy next to us. That can lead to a feeling of superiority—of being better than everybody else, because we know so much.
But that is not what Jesus wants for us. Instead, He says one thing and one thing only: be prepared. Be ready. I am coming soon, and you cannot possibly figure out when, so the only thing to do is to be ready all the time. What does this mean? It means to trust in Jesus to forgive you your wrongdoing and to give you the Holy Spirit. He died and rose for you—now you can trust Him, love Him, and follow Him. Learn from Him how to love your neighbors and how to get on with the responsibilities God has given you in this world. Do what lies in front of you, and do it as best you can with the help of God.
Then, when Jesus actually does come, we will not need to be afraid or ashamed. We will already be God's trusting, forgiven children, and we will be as happy as a child at preschool who looks up to see mommy or daddy coming through the door. We will run to Him with joy, because we will already have the loving relationship with Him that will continue when we meet Him face-to-face.
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, give me trust and love for You, and prepare me for Your joyful return. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. What is a future event you are longing for, and why?
2. How do you feel about Jesus' second coming—does it make you happy, scared, worried, or some combination of feelings?
3. How could you look forward to Jesus' coming with joy? Would anything have to change in your thinking or life?
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