December 13, 2014
He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “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.”
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
When Jesus ascended into Heaven, the angels told his followers he would be returning to the earth in the same way they saw him leave. Of course, they all expected that it might happen a week or so later. Years passed and he still hadn’t returned. People began to be concerned about their loved ones who had died. What would become of them when Jesus returned. Paul wrote these words to the Church at Thessalonica to reassure them everything would be ok. I love it how Paul closed by telling them to “encourage one another with these words.” How about you? Have you ever encouraged anyone with these words? Has anyone ever encouraged you with these words? I think my answer to both questions would be a no. So here’s the challenge. Let’s commit to memory these exact words (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18– above) and find ways to encourage one another with them. I am going for it. Will you join me? It’s been so long since he came that one can become discouraged about his second coming. I know that has been the case for me at times. Then I remember what the Apostle Peter had to say about the waiting.
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
For us it seems like it’s been something like two thousand years we’ve been waiting on his return, but from the Lord’s perspective, it’s only been a couple of days.
We’ve got good work to do while we wait; namely sharing the good news with others now. That’s been our focus this week, keeping the vision of the end before us in the now. Being prepared– extra batteries for the flashlights, creative risk taking with all he has entrusted us with while he is away, always praying and never, ever, ever giving up.
PEOPLE GET READY! JESUS IS COMING.
J.D. Walt writes daily for Seedbed’s Daily Text. He serves as Seedbed’s Sower in Chief. Follow him @jdwalt on Twitter or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Get the Daily Text delivered to your inbox fresh every morning. Subscribe HERE.