so when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” he said to them, “it is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. [acts 1:6-7]
come, Lord Jesus!
deep down, we know that there is something better beyond the here and now. when we see the news of another natural disaster or a school shooting or we learn of the cancer of a loved one, we cannot help but long for the better that is to come. even the world who does not know Christ knows that there is more, which is why the world constantly strives for eternal youth, eternal entertainment, eternal fame, always grasping on to what is new and novel. all creation groans for the coming of something better.
for i consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. for the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of god. for the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. for we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. [romans 8:18-23]
we live between the already and not yet–we are sojourners in a foreign land. we see the brokenness of the world and we groan, and with the disciples implore: “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom?”
and his answer is much the same as he gives earlier in matthew 24:36-51, before his death, and with the admonition “therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.”
we are told: be patient–wait with eager anticipation, serving and loving others as if it were our last day. it is not ours to know.
this is what we who are in Christ do know:
for since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. for this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. for the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. [1 thessalonians 4:14-17]
with this absolute certainty on our minds we pray with eager anticipation of that day as john does in the closing words of the bible:
he who testifies to these things says, “surely I am coming soon.” amen. come, Lord Jesus!
the grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. amen. [revelation 22: 20-21]