January 23, 2013 by Dwight Bernier
Confession… I really don’t know. But since you are here, keep reading…
How many times have we heard that phrase? It seems like every few years someone new comes forward with a date for the end of the world, some sort of judgment, or Jesus returning. Most recently, there were many who paralleled the end of the Mayan calendar with the end of the world… and here I sit typing. Another recent proclamation about judgment day was from Harold Camping. He said the world would end on May 21, 2011. In the words of Jesus to the Sadducees, “You are quite wrong”.
Jesus doesn’t want for us to fix our attention on aligning certain symbols in Scripture with modern-day events like one would work through a cryptoquip. I’m convinced He doesn’t want us wasting time making charts and graphs about the mysterious nature of His return.
In Mark 13, Jesus gave three firm commands about how to prepare and handle things of the future:
1 – Don’t let anyone lead you astray.
It is easy to look at signs and wonders and proclaim that God is doing something new. But if the signs and wonders aren’t coming alongside the gospel being proclaimed and declared, then they could very well be bogus. Jesus tells us in Mark 13 that many false christs and false prophets will arise, attempting to lead people astray, even the elect. Jesus wants His people to not get sucked into a game of prophetic connect-the-dots, but rather wants for us to be fixed on Him.
2 – Be on guard.
Being on guard requires being ready at all times. It is likened to a doctor being on-call on the weekend. Jesus tells his followers that they will be delivered over to people who will beat them, mistreat them, and even kill them. But this has to happen so that they can bear witness about Him. Jesus says that the gospel must be preached to all the nations.
Jesus wants for His followers to understand that wherever He has placed them at that time, could be for the distinct purpose of declaring His gospel to the nations. And just so the disciples (and us) don’t get freaked out about writing every apologetic stance we can think of for every possible situation we might find ourselves in, Jesus tells them (and us) that the Holy Spirit will bear witness about Jesus through us. Be on guard until the end. Be ready to declare that Jesus has come, not try to give a date of when He is coming back.
3 – Stay awake.
Since we don’t know the day or hour Jesus is returning (and the pre-resurrection Son of God didn’t seem to know the day either – Mark 13.32), then we should be about the work that He has given us to do, staying awake and ready. Drowsy people get lazy and forget what they are doing. This is why it’s not ideal to drive when tired. Jesus wants us to remember what it is we are doing. A doorkeeper would not let anyone or thing in the house that would ruin or destroy the house. We are to be alert and stay awake, not letting anyone or any thing into our proverbial (and literal) houses, that will lead us astray from the One we are waiting for.
I know that Jesus is coming back someday. Since I don’t know and can’t know the day, the calling of Jesus is to be on guard, stay awake, and don’t be led astray. Don’t fixate on all logistics, but be excited about the mystery that veils the reality.
And please stop trying to predict when Jesus will return!