By Bob Bunn
In our world, we’re pretty used to promise-making. Sadly, though, we know we can’t always expect those promises to be kept. We can even laugh about it: Politicians from every party make promises to capture votes. Brands make you believe your life will be better with their products. Individuals take out loans, promising to pay them back (with interest) on time.
But unmet promises can also lead to a lot of hurt. Husbands and wives promise to stick it out no matter what. Parents promise their kids they’ll plan something fun for the next vacation. Friends promise to get together more often. Employees promise to work hard, and employers promise a reasonable salary.
There’s nothing wrong with making promises, but a commitment is only as solid as the person making it. And that’s where we run into trouble. We’re imperfect and broken. At our core, we’re sinful, and we often do not stop to think about the impact of not following through with something down the line.
Thankfully, Jesus is not like us. Scripture is clear about that. When the Messiah says He will do something, it’s a done deal. He never backs out of a promise and never fails to make good on His words.
That’s important when we look at a passage like John 14:1–6 because Jesus made a huge promise in verse 3. After telling the disciples that He was returning to heaven soon, He promised that He would return one day. He would come back for them and create a special place for them—for all of us.
A couple of decades later, Paul reminded the Thessalonian believers about Jesus’s return (1Thessalonians 4:13–18). He not only affirmed the Lord’s promise, but he also offered a detailed description of how it will happen. Jesus isn’t planning to sneak into town for His people. He’s coming with trumpets and angels and shouts. It’s going to happen, and everyone will know it.
In the early Church, believers focused a lot on the idea of hope. When they did, they weren’t referring to wishful thinking the way we sometimes do. This was absolute confidence that something would happen. When it came to Jesus’s return, their hope was grounded in His promise (John 14:3).
If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to myself, so that where I am you may be also.
With all their hearts, they believed that He was coming again, even if they wouldn’t live to see it. Other believers have embraced the same hope through the years. We can too.
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