By Charles D. Earl
Former Director of Missions, Holston Valley Baptist Assoc., Rogersville
Ah, the future! That’s the great known and unknown. I had a conversation with a man recently who had celebrated his 94th birthday the day before. His eyes twinkled as he told me about what he had planned to do in the future. That’s what I call positive thinking! I don’t know if he will live to complete his projects but he was certainly excited about his future.
From Matthew 28 and the record of the resurrection of Christ, we return to Matthew 24 where Jesus uses almost the entire chapter to discuss future events after His crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension back to heaven. One of the big items He deals with is the number of date setters and false prophets concerning when He is coming again. We have these folks, of course, in every generation who play on the emotions of folks who are not familiar with the Scriptures. Jesus has the latest word on the subject and He said in Mark 13:32, “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” I would urge all of us not to get so “worked up” listening to these date setters and disregard those who try to figure out when He is coming.
It seems almost sinful to contradict Christ and waste our time trying to figure out the time of His second coming and pay so little attention to what we should be doing until His coming. In fact, in Matthew 24:45, Jesus uses several verses about what we are to be busy doing before He comes again. I believe Jesus was saying that instead of spending so much time and using so much brain power trying to figure out the date of His coming, we should be busy getting ourselves and others ready for that day when He will, as the old folks used to say, “split the eastern sky and Gabriel blows his horn!” That’s what all of us should be interested in. We should not busy ourselves wasting our time trying to figure out when He is coming, but we do need to make sure we are busy doing what He said for us to do as we wait for His coming.
Perhaps thinking He had not been firm enough in the earlier verses about us trying to figure out the particular and exact date of His second coming, in verses 42 through the rest of this 24th chapter and all of chapter 25, Jesus seeks to outline for us what we should be doing to prepare for His second coming. Don’t you think that since there isn’t any way for us to know when He is going to come again it would be wise for us to spend whatever time we have and exert whatever energy He has given us doing what we has told us to do?
First of all, let us make sure that we ourselves have responded to the Holy Spirit’s call and accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. That is our first order of business.
Second, after we have made sure we are ready to go, let us enlist all the other folks we can to join us in sharing our Christian witness in every way we can to as many people as we possibly can. As the hymn writer has reminded us, “What a day that will be, when our Jesus we will see; we will look upon His face, the One Who saved us by His grace!”