“Then will appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory; and he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” Matthew 24:15-31
From the time of Jesus on, his followers have wondered about the end of time and how it will be that the Lord will come again. In this chapter, Jesus speaks extensively about that time and what signs will indicate its coming. Still, there is no timetable. Preachers throughout the ages have tried to decipher biblical signs and symbols, discerning, they think, a definitive timeline for the coming day of the Lord. Sometimes, they and their expectant band of followers have gathered on a mountain top, waiting and watching. And all—all— have had to hike back down the mountain dejected, disappointed and deceived. I’ve often wondered what it would be like to be one of those folks who have been convinced that Jesus would return at a specific date and time, only to have the time pass uneventfully. Who would be the first to say, “Well, guess he’s not coming!”
The truth is, the Lord will come, but in his own time. He says no one knows the day or hour, but only the Father in heaven. Why do we waste time trying to figure out God’s timing? Why do we worry about when Jesus will come?
Perhaps people are afraid they’ll miss it. Unlike the approach of Christmas Day, which is counted down by TV, newspapers and internet websites, maybe folks are concerned that Jesus will come and they’ll be distracted, busy with the world’s busy-ness?
The Lord says that will not be the case. Earlier in our passage, he says, “For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” We won’t miss it! It will be unmistakable! So let’s be about the work of the kingdom as we wait.
Lord Jesus Christ, come, and come quickly! Amen.
Prepared by David Wendel, North American Lutheran Church