Someone wrote to a denominational magazine and asked, “Why are there so few sermons in our churches on the Second Coming? Is this part of our belief or not?”
The wise “answer person” replied this way: “Not all Christians think alike on matters of theology, but it would be hard for someone to feel at home in our tradition who did not understand God as the One who has come, who is present… in our lives today, and who is yet to come in whatever form the future ends up taking. To literalize the Second Coming is to ruin both its beauty and its significance. To ignore it is to avoid what may be the most important part of the Gospel we know about, since the past and present, relatively speaking, are brief, while tomorrow borders on forever.”
In a later issue of the magazine, another reader reacted to this answer: “I compliment the Rev. _____ for his illusive non-answer to what I am sure was a serious question concerning the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. If I understood his answer, he said, in effect, “We don’t all agree. But if you want to be comfortable in [this denomination] you will need to agree that Jesus is coming again, but not really—for if you actually believe in the Second Coming you will ruin both its beauty and its significance. Yet you can’t ignore it because it is in the future.”
I share this story because some things—like Jesus’ second coming—can be confusing or controversial
But that doesn’t mean they’re not real.
If he came the first time, why is it such a stretch that he’ll come again? The New Testament confirms it, including Jesus himself: “At that time people will see the Son of Man [Jesus] coming in clouds with great power and glory” (Mark 13:26).
It is a source of great comfort and hope that God hasn’t given up on us. He will return in person to restore everything to how it was originally intended to be.
Death will end.
Illness will end.
Violence will end.
Human trafficking will end.
Deceit will end.
Poverty will end.
Environmental degradation will end.
War will end.
Loneliness will end.
Hate will end.
Tears will end.
Have hope. Since God hasn’t given up on the world, neither should we.
By Matthew Ruttan
–Today’s “Up!” is based on Part 2 in the Armageddon series: “How will the world end, and why?” It will be available on November 26, 2019 at http://www.MatthewRuttan.com
–Bible quotes are from the NIV.
–*Today’s story is told in: Tomas G. Long, Preaching From Memory to Hope (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2009), 112.