Many people ask questions about the end of the world. Some people think the end will come gradually, as the sun slowly burns out over the next several billion years. Others think the end will come much more suddenly. Perhaps, as exiting recent catastrophe movies suggest, by an asteroid, or a nuclear disaster, or an alien invasion!
All of these guesses assume that history is random and meaningless. Good and evil will never be rewarded. Justice will never be done and our lives are like unmarked exam papers. Why bother to work hard or do anything good? Let’s just eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die!
If you think like this, then Jesus’ resurrection is a warning for you. God raised Jesus from the dead, and God will send Jesus back to earth on the Last Day to judge the world (Acts 17:31). Death is no escape. On Judgment Day, Jesus will summon us all back from the grave, resurrecting some to life, and resurrecting others to be condemned (John 5:28-29). If Jesus finds you waiting for Him, you will be saved (Hebrews 9:28). But if you are not ready, Jesus will punish you for your sins with everlasting destruction (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10).
Some people have tried to predict when the end of the world will come. Recently, for example, there has been interest in the Mayan Calendar. Jesus tells us, however, that it is impossible to predict the end of the world (Matthew 24:42-44). Even Jesus didn’t know when He would return (Mark 13:32), and we are not allowed to know (Acts 1:7). But, if you ever hear news about wars, famines, earthquakes or false Christs, these are warnings to you from God to get ready, because these are signs that Jesus will be coming back soon (Matthew 24:3-8).
God is paitent with us
Some people ask: why has it been such a long time – 2000 years – and Jesus still hasn’t come? The answer is that God is being patient with us. Every day God delays, God is giving everybody another 24 hours to repent and put their trust in Jesus and be saved (2 Peter 3:8-10). God is not racist. God is giving time for His Good News to be preached to all the tribes and tongues and nations in the world, so that people from every nation and ethnicity will be saved (Revelation 7:9-10).
Jesus will certainly come back (Acts 1:11). But Jesus told parables teaching us to expect a delay before His return (e.g. Matthew 13:24-30, 36-40), and to warn us that how we treat Jesus in this life will determine how Jesus treats us then (Luke 19:11-27; Mark 8:38). The only sensible thing to do is to get ready now for Jesus’ return, and help others to do the same (Hebrews 10:24-25). Because if we live for Jesus now, we can look forward to finally being reunited with Him and with every other Christian, even those who have already died (1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11).
It’s worth trusting and obeying Jesus
Jesus warns us that trusting and obeying Him will be difficult, because Christians must suffer sacrifices and persecutions. But it is worth it, both in this world and, especially, in the next (Mark 10:29-30)! Non-Christians might not respect us or Jesus now, but when Jesus returns, everybody will see Him, and us, for who we really are (1 John 3:2). Non-Christians will be shut out of God’s new creation (Revelation 22:14-15), and suffer forever in dark despair and painful distress (Matthew 22:13; 25:30). But if you believe in Jesus and suffer for Him: rejoice (Matthew 5:10-12)! Jesus promises you that you will enjoy eternal life with Him in the new creation: a blessing infinitely better than even the most hideous of sufferings you will endure for Him today (Romans 8:17-21).
How does this Bible passage speak to you? Please share your thoughts below!
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