Does your typical day have an eschatological focus? Do you long for the return of Jesus? As we go about daily routines, too often our lives become routine. It seems as if there is a missing purpose at times to simple conversations in the community and other less-than-glorious responsibilities like changing diapers or mopping the kitchen floor. Are you anxiously anticipating the return of King Jesus or do you find yourself reading your Bible and doing life disconnected from the precious promise that Jesus will return? Consider these four reasons why you should anticipate the return of the King of the Universe.
Anticipating the Return of Jesus Impacts How We Worship
As John the apostle worshipped God on the Island of Patmos, he longed for the return of Jesus. In the second to last verse in the Bible, we find these words, “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20). As we look back at the promises of God’s redemptive plan and consider our place in that timeline of history—the thought of Jesus’ return should shape our worship.
When we sing songs in public worship that include phrases about Jesus’ return, it should cause our worship to be heightened. The thought that Christ could return today is a humbling thought, and to be singing and worshipping him and contemplating his return should make our worship of God more rich and meaningful. Charles Wesley penned the words to his carol titled, “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus”—we see that we are to consider the Old Testament saint who was longing for the coming of their Deliverer. However, by the end of the short hymn, we see that there is an eschatological focus for us today:
Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s Strength and Consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear Desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.
Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.
What about the Lord’s Supper, is your focus when you remember the body and blood of Jesus merely focused on what Jesus did in the past or do you also long for his return? Remember what Jesus said about observing the Lord’s Supper? He commanded that his followers would remember his sacrifice and anticipate his return (1 Cor. 11:26).
Anticipating the Return of Jesus Increases Our Confidence That the Righteous Judge Will Judge Sin
All through the Psalms, we see the Psalmist pleading with God to judge sinners and law breakers. Notice the language of the Psalmist as recorded in Psalm 69:3, “I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God.” This is a common pattern that we see repeated all through the Psalms as we have before us the raw emotions of desperate people who long for God to bring judgment upon the wicked.
As we live in this broken world filled with sin—we too long for the day when Christ will return and judge with perfect and precise justice. On that day, the eternal Judge will judge judge everyone rightly and sin will be no more. When this judgment takes place, the celebration of sin and all of the ripple effects of sin will be brought to a sudden halt. There will be no mistrials, no mistakes, and no person who can make an accusation against the sovereign Judge who judges in perfect righteousness. Every ounce of injustice that we endure in this life will be completely satisfied in Jesus. For that reason, we should join John the apostle by saying, “Come, Lord Jesus!”
Anticipating the Return of Jesus Provides Renewed Zeal in the Area of Missions and Evangelism
Do you often consider the simple conversations that you have on a daily basis? What about that person that you talked with on the subway this week? What about the Uber driver that you talked with last week? What about the person in the coffee shop who talked with you as you waited on your Frappuccino to be served? The God who rules the Universe also directs the steps of us all—and there is no “chance” conversation that we have in a single day.
If we anticipate the return of Jesus—it will change how we look at such conversations, friendships, family connections, and work relationships. We will look at people through an eschatological lens and our conversations will suddenly have a much deeper purpose. We should not look at people as “projects” or opportunities for notches in our evangelistic belts, but a proper anticipation of Jesus’ return will cause us to engage in disciple-making at a much deeper level.
Furthermore, as we anticipate the return of Christ it will often redirect our priorities to be less self-focused and more Kingdom-focused. Why would we pile up resources to use for our own pleasure and temporal joys when the world needs to know the true joy of Jesus Christ? Longing for the return of Christ doesn’t make you hate taking vacations, but it will certainly prevent you from wasting your resources without any care for the lost world that is perishing around you.
Anticipating the Return of Jesus Causes Us to Long for the Day When All Things Will Be Made New
Life is full of broken roads. We have all walked difficult paths and experienced the effects of sin. We all stand before caskets of friends and loved ones with tears streaming down our faces. We know what it’s like to say good-bye to people we love. Have you experienced the feeling of loneliness and pain when the doctor provides you with a troubling health report? Such broken roads are difficult to walk—and yet we must endure as we anticipate the return of Jesus.
We live in-between the already and the not-yet reality of the rule of Jesus. While Jesus has defeated death and paid for the sins of all of his people, we still live in the world of brokenness and sin. Such reality is heavy and burdensome at times. But, we live with hope of a Christian that Jesus rules today from heaven’s throne and that he will one day return in visible victory for the whole world to see. When Christ returns—all things will be made new.
At the end of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis depicts the lion (Aslan) walking off into the sunset. Lucy runs to the balcony and sees him walking away and with a sad countenance, she is comforted by Tumnus who says, “We’ll see him again.” Lucy responds, “When?” Tumnus reassures her, “In time…you mustn’t press him, he isn’t a tame lion.” Lucy responds, “No, but he’s good.”
We can live each day with the reality that Jesus is not a tame Lion—but he is good. When the Lion of the tribe of Judah returns he will make all things new. There will be no more death, no more tears, and no more pain for the former things will have passed away. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!