26 If you are told the Messiah is out in the desert, don't go there! And if you are told he is in some secret place, don't believe it! 27The coming of the Son of Man will be like lightning that can be seen from east to west. 28 Where there is a corpse, there will always be vultures.
When the Son of Man
(Mark 13.24-27; Luke 21.25-28)
29 Right after those days of suffering,
“The sun will become dark,
and the moon
will no longer shine.
The stars will fall,
and the powers in the sky
will be shaken.”
30 Then a sign will appear in the sky. And there will be the Son of Man. All nations on earth will weep when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31At the sound of a loud trumpet, he will send his angels to bring his chosen ones together from all over the earth.
A Lesson from a Fig Tree
(Mark 13.28-31; Luke 21.29-33)
32Learn a lesson from a fig tree. When its branches sprout and start putting out leaves, you know summer is near. 33So when you see all these things happening, you will know the time has almost come. 34I can promise you that some of the people of this generation will still be alive when all this happens. 35The sky and the earth won't last forever, but my words will.
Over the past two millennia, followers of Jesus have discussed, debated, and deconstructed the words of Jesus in Matthew 24, trying to get a handle on the logistics and timeline of his second coming. Self-proclaimed prophets and false Messiahs have led many astray, claiming to have figured out what was going to happen and when. Well-meaning Bible scholars and theologians have made clear their take on these matters.
Setting all that aside, because Jesus didn’t give us the details here, there are some things that are clear. Jesus is coming again. This is the heart of his message. On that day of days, nobody is going to miss his return. His return will be preceded by strange astronomical events. Then the followers of Jesus from around the globe will be gathered together and those who have not followed him will be in mourning.
The people who aren’t ready for this great event will be surprised. Those of us who are followers of Christ ought not be. Jesus mentions his return a number of times. So too did an angel who appeared to the disciples as they stood watching Jesus ascend into heaven following his resurrection. The angel told them that Jesus was going to return in exactly the same way as they saw him go. It really can’t be any clearer than that.
Once these events start to unfold, things will happen quickly. The generation that sees these things begin to happen will also see things brought to a close. Heaven and earth are going to pass away. We are called to heed the unchanging words of Jesus.
No one really knows when all of this is going to happen. God is wise in not telling us. By leaving us hanging regarding the exact time, the followers of Jesus stay spiritually sharp and alert, not wanting to be found napping at his appearing. We strive for a deeper faith and a stronger love, compelled by the great hope that is ours in the promise of his return
Lord Jesus,There is no doubt that one day you will return. Scripture is filled with that promise. We long for that day. In the meantime, keep us spiritually alert, committed to loving you and others. And keep us watchful for that which your word makes clear. Even so, come Lord Jesus. In your name we pray. Amen