Christians have been waiting for the end to come for centuries. Generations of on fire believers have lived and died expecting Jesus to return in their lifetime. Jesus said three times in the last chapter of revelation that he was returning quickly. He said that around 2000 years ago, and no matter who you are, that is not a quick return!
What is the hold up?
Even Jesus’ first followers thought that the end would come immediately after he rose from the dead. The Bible records them asking Jesus if the end would come the last time they saw him on earth. Here is the conversation which is recorded in Acts 1:6-8.
“Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”
The Jews equated the restoration of the kingdom to Israel with the end of the world. Jesus had previously told them that the end would not come until there were famines, pestilences and earthquakes in various places.
He also told them that many would be killed for his sake.
None of this had happened and yet the disciples still expected to end to come immediately. Considering how harsh Jesus had sometimes been in teaching them in the past, he was very patient with his response.
And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.
Jesus effectively told them that he doesn’t know and to stop worrying about it. Then he told them what they should be focusing on instead.
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
He said that what they should focus on is exactly what he has been training them to do his whole life. That is to preach the gospel, heal the sick, cast out demons and teach new believers about the kingdom.
Praying for Jesus to return will not work.
What will work is to get busy doing what Jesus commanded his followers to do. Jesus is the same then as he is now and if anyone considers themselves a disciple of Jesus then they need to be doing the same things his first disciples did. This is what will get Jesus to return as shown in Matthew 24:14
“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
We need more labourers out in the field.
In Luke 10 Jesus says that the harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few. The same still applies today. He also sends out 72 disciples with the instructions to heal the sick, find a person of peace and teach them about the kingdom. He repeats those instructions before he ascends to heaven as shown in Matthew 28:18-20 and the scripture above.
Jesus is delayed in coming back because we haven’t done our job.
Peter wrote about this and he said it is up to us when Jesus returns.
2 Peter 3:12: “looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat”
To hasten means to speed up. It is the same word used in Luke 2:16 where the shepherds hastened to see the baby Jesus. It is something that we do, not something that God does without any input from us.
It is fine to think about the end and desire to see it happen. But to spend a lot of time and energy researching the end and making predictions about when it will happen will produce no fruit. What will produce fruit is to learn how to use the gifts of the Holy Spirit and to proclaim the good news about Jesus wherever we are.
Elizabeth Peters says
Thank you for your blog Andrew and WELL SAID. Much less speculation about “end times” and a heap more energy and effort into spreading the gospel and bringing God’s love that brings repentance, forgiveness and freedom to people
Remember also that the command is not only: That is to preach the gospel, heal the sick, cast out demons and teach new believers about the kingdom, as you said, but that it is also important to CLEANSE THE LEPERS. Do people do this??
Jesus further instructs in Matthew 23: 39 – “for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say: ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.'” (Baruch Haschem Adonai!) Us gentiles, who have accepted Jesus Christ of Nazareth as our Lord and Saviour, have a responsibility to pray for and introduce the Jews to JESUS CHRIST and it is when they see the Lord Jesus and acknowledge Him as their promised Messiah that fulfilled the law and prophets, that Jesus will return.
We have a great amount of responsibility in our roles as Sons of God and Priests and Kings.
Andrew Stirling says
Thank you for your comment. I fully agree that we need to be cleansing the lepers also. Jesus commanded it so we need to do it. I haven’t had a chance to do so yet but I’m praying that I will be bold enough to take any opportunity that comes my way!