Wednesday, March 15, 2017

guilty of not being ready

Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes.
Matthew 24:45-56

The one facet of the gospel story that makes the most Christians nervous is the reality of Jesus returning to earth. Even among evangelicals there is so much disagreement doctrinally on the particulars. Seminaries often find it best to teach a spectrum of theology on the subject and let students land on their own personal interpretations and theologies. Yet Jesus Himself gave thorough teaching on the end times and the fact of His Second Coming. He spoke of it lots to His disciples just before His crucifixion and resurrection. The repeated emphasis to the disciples throughout His teaching was that they needed to be faithful and ready for Him at His return.

But two millennia have gone by and the return of Jesus is hardly ever mentioned among Christians and rarely featured in our telling of the gospel story. Why is that? Are we embarrassed of this theological fact? Do we fear that proclaiming the doctrine of Christ's return will somehow make people think we are members of a weird doomsday cult? We don't want to look like Jim Jones or Branch Davidians, so we say nothing, and don't even look like Jesus in our preaching, Who spoke much on the subject factually and clearly. Really, the entirety of the gospel is subject to mockery by unbelievers, so why do we just pick out the Second Coming and only get nervous about the ultimate end of Jesus' salvation to rule the earth and restore the universe to wholeness?

It occurs to me that by neglecting the doctrine of Jesus' return, we forfeit the blessing that Jesus promises in this Matthew 24. To be a faithful servant, one must live as if the Master returns today. This is a wisdom the gospel prepares us to receive and instructs us to live. We need to be about our Master's business. We need to proclaim to the story of His life, His death and resurrection, saving offer of life to sinners, and His soon and imminent return to rule this earth. Jesus says He will be back again. He has kept every one of His promises and has been raised from the dead to give to His people all things. He is the truth. He will return.

Please forgive Your neglectful servant for being less than watchful for Your return. I will heed Your warning and hope in the promised blessing in my heart, words, and deeds as I seek to faithfully serve because You will be back.

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