When [Jesus] had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:9-11)
Any day now, any day now,
I shall be released. – Bob Dylan
This is the message of Acts. Straightforward. Essential. Profound. This is what you need to know: Jesus Christ, whom you killed (yes, we all did) rose from the dead so that you might be forgiven, and He is coming back in the same way that you saw Him go.
The disciples believed that Jesus was coming back in their lifetime. If the angel said He would return in the same way they saw Him go, it must mean they would be around to see it. Wouldn’t you have thought that? Besides, every generation since has thought theirs would be around to see it, and that’s the way it should be. The potential of Christ returning in your lifetime makes everything about following Him closer and more urgent. How would I live if I knew Christ wasn’t returning for another couple hundred years? How would I live if I knew Christ was returning any day now? Big difference.
September 23, 2017 was supposed to be the end of the world. My 18-year-old son, Chandler, was invested in that one. He thought it was going to happen. He fully believes the end of the world is coming and will happen at least in his lifetime. The fact that the subject is a part of the popular discussion means something. In the 1960s, I created a medley of popular rock/folk songs about the end of the world and the return of Christ. They were all secular songs written and sung by people who weren’t even Christians. It’s a part of what was blowing in the wind and it’s blowing again. This is good news for followers of Christ, because for us, the return of Christ needs to be a part of the daily discussion. Don’t be so entrenched here that it would upset your applecart for Christ to return. We look for it. We long for it. It’s a part of our spiritual reality. It’s a part of the gospel. It’s in the book of Acts. The beginning started with the knowledge of the ending, and every movement of God since has rekindled this hope. This is why we know we are in another movement.
The return of Christ is the ultimate closure. It will bring the end of what God wanted to accomplish with this heaven and this earth, and the beginning of what He wants to accomplish in eternity. Get ready.
Let’s spend the weekend on this. Think about the return of Christ and let me know what you’re thinking. Check out our Study Guide, and especially question 6: Is the “good news,” this hope of Jesus Christ’s return, the key element in your life? If not, why? If so, how is it manifested through your life? How might we encourage each other in the knowledge of this?