Day 24

Jesus Teaches About His Return

from the reading plan

Matthew 24:1-51, Genesis 6:1-7, Romans 13:12-14

Eschatology (the study or theology of the end times) does something funny to us. The Christian tradition I grew up in had an overemphasized perspective on the end times. I remember attending conferences as a teenager, speculating on a timeline of events that would occur at the end. I was given more books to read on this subject than almost any other topic. Bible studies and personal devotions were centered around studying and mapping out the mysterious events of the book of Revelation. Eschatology became about when things happen.

Jesus doesn’t take that approach. While His disciples “ooh” and “ahh” over the temple structure in Jerusalem, Jesus tells them the day is coming when that building will be lying about in ruins. Privately they ask Jesus to tell them when the things He spoke about would happen.

But eschatology and the study of the Bible regarding the end times aren’t meant to be about when things happen. Jesus wants to equip His followers to be faithful to Him, regardless of the circumstances around them. How should disciples of Jesus live when false teachers, claiming to be the Messiah, start putting the spotlight on themselves? How should disciples of Jesus live when persecution and suffering come for the person who worships Jesus? What should we do when the world seems to shatter, break, and come apart at the seams morally, spiritually, politically, and socially?

We should orient our lives today in light of that coming day when Christ will return. Using the story of the flood in Genesis 6, Jesus reminds us that we could go about our daily lives with no view to the end and the judgment to come. We can be so immersed in the here and now or so concerned with the wrong things that we fail to live prepared for Jesus’s second coming altogether. Jesus promises that He will come again, and all the people “will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30). Think about that! The day is approaching when Jesus will come again, and we will see Him! Will you be ready?

May our lives be focused on living by faith in Christ, growing in holiness, pursuing mercy and justice, and loving our neighbor as ourselves. “Let us walk with decency, as in the daytime: not in carousing and drunkenness; not in sexual impurity and promiscuity; not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to gratify its desires” (Romans 13:13–14).

Jesus reoriented the disciples’ mindset about the end times, and what He told them is helpful for us too. We may be asking the wrong question. Instead of asking, “When will these things happen?” (Matthew 24:3), we should be asking, “Am I ready today for the day when Jesus comes again” (v.44)? May we be ready. Come, Lord Jesus!

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