Jesus’ Goal in Talking About His Second Coming

When Jesus talks about the signs of his Second Coming the goal is not to get his followers to be infatuated with the timing and dating of his return, but to jolt them into watchfulness (Mark 13:32-36). Jesus is not trying to encourage his followers to figure out when he is coming, but to live a life of wakefulness realizing that he may suddenly and unexpectedly come–at any moment. Commentator R. Alan Cole’s remarks on Mark 13:30-32 are helpful,

The longing for a long-awaited loved one to come home is generated by love for the person not the the person’s itinerary.

In the midst of many details that are puzzling, two main principles are clear. First, the Christian is to avoid unhealthy interest in the actual date, and secondly, we are to see the very uncertainty as to the date as a strong stimulant to ceaseless watchfulness. In other words, like every other Christian doctrine, that of the second coming has a moral and spiritual goal; we must be watchful, lest our Master, when He returns, finds us sleeping (36). As Schweizer says, every description of the end time is also an exhortation to the church. [Mark, TNTC, (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, reprinted 2002), 281-282.]

So, Christians, don’t scour The Jerusalem Post or rely on the rapture index being overly concerned about filling in the latest prophecies and plugging in possible symbolic fulfillment surrounding Jesus’ Coming. Instead watch your life, watch your doctrine, watch your marriage, watch your inner-life, watch your money, watch your time, etc., in a way that demonstrates readiness so that when Jesus shows up you will not be ashamed of any of those things. Ask yourself, are each of those things awake to the reality of Jesus’ appearing? Or are they sleeping? Maybe ask the following questions and generate some more of your own to do a self-assessment:

  • Is your private, inner, and devotional life asleep to the reality of Christ?
  • Is your marriage passive when it comes to displaying the gospel to the world through the husband’s sacrificial love and the wife’s glad submission?
  • Is your wallet lazy toward the poor and God’s kingdom yet wide-awake to recreation and consumerism?
  • Is the way your using you’re time drugged drowsy because you are only living for today and its pleasures and not the Final Day of Jesus’ return?
  • Are you hitting the snooze-button on a particular pattern of sin in your life where repentance is needed?

A passion for the second coming of Christ is not most demonstrated by interest in charts outlining the stages of his return and developing the latest end-time interpretation, but living a life pleasing to Christ that exhibits that he is your first love. In other words, the reality of Jesus coming again should incite greater love for Jesus not for the way in which he returns. The longing for a long-awaited loved one to come home is generated by love for the person not the the person’s itinerary.

Jesus is coming again. So long for that day. Love him. And live like you love him and are tirelessly awaiting his return.