Sunday, November 3, 2019
“Live for Jesus! He may come today!”
My mother would say this to us every morning when we would leave for school. It was a gentle, daily reminder that this is to be a joyful event to which we look with anticipation. If we live as though He may come at any moment, we will be glad to see Him when that day arrives.
HOW WILL JESUS COME BACK?
Just like today, the Pharisees of Jesus’ time had multiple theories about when God’s kingdom would arrive. At the outset of our passage today, Jesus is clear: “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst” (Luke 17:20-21). Indeed, here was God Himself in Jesus Christ, standing before them, announcing that the kingdom of God was near! It is right here, right now, in your midst!
FOUR STATEMENTS ABOUT HIS RETURN
First, The Kingdom of God Is Here, In Our Midst (Luke 17:20-21)
There is no need to go looking for it any longer because Jesus has brought the kingdom to us. The lessons learned from the translation discussion of whether the kingdom is “within you” (KJV) or “in your midst” (NIV) is interesting because each understanding carries intriguing meanings and insights to ponder.
Second, The Kingdom of God Will Be Understood With Jesus’ Passion (Luke 17:22-25).
The keys to the kingdom that Jesus announced upon Peter’s confession (Matthew 16:13-20) would issue in the new age on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2). The kingdom was fully realized in the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, taking up residence in the hearts of God’s people who would assemble together as the church. These people of the kingdom would look forward to the day of Christ’s return.
Third, Jesus’ Coming Will Happen Suddenly, Without Warning (Luke 17:26-37)
Natural and historical catastrophic events provide great metaphors for understanding the suddenness of His return. Jesus’ examples detail flashes of lightening across the sky, Noah and the flood, Lot and Sodom and Gomorrah. Just another normal day until, suddenly, everything changed.
Fourth, When Jesus Comes Back, God Will Deliver Justice (Luke 18:1-8)
The story of the persistent widow places stress on the widow who drives her king nuts in search of justice until he finally relents. The emphasis is not upon the moral character of the judge but, rather, upon the persistent pleading of the widow (Luke 18:1). When Jesus returns, will He find anyone still looking forward to His coming (Luke 18:8)?
Christians in churches around the world joyfully anticipate the day of Jesus’ return. While there is much discussion about what that day–and the days to follow–will be like, Jesus make is clear in these verses:
- There will be no warning or signs preceding the day.
- The kingdom of God has already taken up residence on this earth since Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection and ascension.
- The day will be sudden and cataclysmic.
- On that day, justice will be served.