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Surprise Return Surprise Return

Surprise Return

“Are we there yet?” Any parent who has taken the family on a long road trip has heard this question. Fortunately, modern GPS technology has made the answer simple to find. If only it made the waiting easier to bear!

The disciples didn’t find waiting easy either. They were looking forward to the arrival of the kingdom of God. During the week leading up to His crucifixion, Jesus taught them about the signs that would signal the end of the age. Their question was not “Are we there yet?” but “When will these things happen?” (Matt. 24:3). Jesus predicted the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, which took place in 70 A.D., sparking questions about the sign of His coming and the end of the age. Jesus revealed several signs (vv. 4–35). He described a time of great tribulation and the rise of “the abomination that causes desolation” predicted by the prophet Daniel (Dan. 9:24–27; 11:31; 12:11). At the close of this period the “sign of the Son of Man” will appear: “And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory” (Matt. 24:30).

It is not surprising that the disciples wanted to know exactly when all these things were to take place. After all, they had a vested interest in Jesus’ second coming. Jesus promised that when He returned they too would inherit a kingdom (vv. 34–40). But the Savior must have shocked them when He said that He did not know the day or the hour (v. 36). Since omniscience is an attribute of Jesus’ divine nature, this limitation of His knowledge must have been voluntary.

>> In an age where Christians are sometimes sharply divided about the timing of events that lead up to the Savior’s second coming, we should take note of what Jesus says we can know. Jesus does not want us to speculate but to stay alert.

Pray with Us

Talking about Christ’s return, today’s key verse says, “Keep watch.” Jesus, thank you for your promise to come back and for revealing the signs of your return to your disciples. Help us to watch for the signs and stay alert.

BY Dr. John Koessler

Dr. John Koessler, who retired as professor emeritus from Moody Bible Institute, formerly served in the division of applied theology and church ministry. John and his wife Jane enjoy living in a lakeside town in Michigan. A prolific writer, John’s books include Dangerous Virtues: How to Follow Jesus When Evil Masquerades as Good (Moody Publishers), The Radical Pursuit of Rest (InterVarsity), The Surprising Grace of Disappointment (Moody), and True Discipleship (Moody). John is a contributing editor and columnist for Today in the Word.

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