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“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” Acts 1:11

“If the Lord doesn’t return first, I’ll be there!”

A man in my church says this often when he makes plans. And I have to be honest; the first time I heard him say it, I mentally rolled my eyes. Because isn’t it a given? Does he really have to preface his attendance with whether or not Christ will return? All I want to know is whether he’s coming to the church barbecue. 

But I think he’s onto something. Though we know Jesus will come to earth again, we tend to keep the fact in the background. It’s not our focus; instead, things like work and family and church barbecues become the priority.

The writers of the New Testament kept Christ’s return in the forefront of their minds: “Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming” (James 5:7). Philippians 1:6 says, “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” And Peter gives this encouragement: “You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming” (2 Peter 3:11-12). The second coming of Christ is a central theme of many of the Apostles’ letters — so why do we live as if we’ve forgotten about it?

I’m sure those who saw Jesus vanish into the clouds, lived the rest of their days hoping and yearning for His return. Maybe, like my friend at church, we should start doing the same!

Dear Jesus, thank You for Your promise that You will come back to earth. Thank You that this world will be restored, just like You intended it to be. I pray that I would yearn for the day when You come back, and that this hope would inform the way I live today. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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Read 2 Peter 3. How will you live life differently today in light of this passage?

Tags: Hope