Tim Keller | September 10, 2006
Jesus tells the disciples that Jerusalem and the temple, at some future time, are going to be destroyed by the Romans. And Jesus says this is a foreshadowing of the end of the world, of judgment day, of his second coming to earth.
Jesus then tells his disciples to watch and yearn for his coming back to earth. A lot of people, both inside and outside the church, really struggle with this teaching.
Three questions come up immediately: 1) Doesn’t this lead to fanaticism? 2) What difference does it really make? and 3) What does it mean to watch?
Looking at Mark 13, we find Jesus telling us that Jerusalem and its temple will be destroyed by the Romans. This paints a picture of the world’s end and His return. He tells us to expect His second coming. This idea can raise a lot of questions about whether it leads to extreme behavior, why it’s important, and how we get ready for it. Let’s talk about these questions.
1. Wouldn’t this lead to extreme behavior?
The Bible’s description of Jesus’ second coming is dramatic and supernatural, quite different from His first peaceful visit. Even though some people might try to explain this differently, we should remember that His second coming will be a real, visible, and physical event, just like He correctly predicted the temple’s destruction. Believing in this should not make us disengage or act aggressively, but instead motivate us to treat others differently and act in new ways.
2. Why does it matter if I believe in it?
Having God in our lives can change how we see things in society and how we get involved. The world, which used to be perfect, has been damaged by pain and unfairness because people started relying on themselves. However, the promise of Jesus’ return gives us hope that the world can be made perfect again. This hope should push us to work for fairness, healing, and personal honesty, encouraging forgiveness and discouraging revenge, as we look forward to His return.
3. What does it mean to be ready?
We’re talking about when Jesus felt God’s absence on the cross, which is the opposite of how God will be fully present and bring healing when He comes again. The central message of the gospel is that the one who will judge us all took our punishment, allowing us to be forgiven and accepted because of His sacrifice. If we accept Jesus as our Judge, we’ll develop a desire for fairness, honesty in private, and the ability to forgive others, all while holding onto a limitless hope.
February Book Offer
In his book Counterfeit Gods, Tim Keller shows us how a proper understanding of the Bible reveals the truth about societal ideals and our own hearts — and that there is only one God who can wholly satisfy our cravings and fulfill our hopes.
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