After the greatest act of love ever committed, Jesus lay dead in a donated tomb. His loyal companions and followers were stunned, sickened by what they had witnessed. But beyond the gory details of this death, they were hit with the uncomfortable thought that perhaps all they had known the past 3 ½ years was a lie, fake, delusional. This man Jesus they had trusted and loved was dead. He died like everyone else. There was no last minute fire from heaven to kill the Roman soldiers or the angry mob of his own brethren demanding his death. There was no angelic rescue team to pull him off that dreaded piece of wood. He was dead. For real. No one was coming to save them from the Roman rule. They would not be sitting on anyone’s right hand in the new government. They had seemingly been duped. Now what? Well, three days later, it was imperative that the risen Jesus convince them beyond a shadow of doubt that all he had promised was REAL and was happening. His followers needed to be 100% convinced and energized to tell the Good News at any cost to all who would listen. The man Jesus was gone forever, but the spirit Jesus would have life within himself, and power to restore all of mankind back to his Father. They needed to urgently tell that story to you and me. How did they go from feeling ultimate betrayal and grief to absolute certainty and joy?
Judgment Day! The very words strike fear into the hearts of many believers across the borders of many religions. After all, this world obviously does not dole out any form of true justice to its vast population, and whatever God you may believe in surely sees this and will soon balance those scales that are presently so skewed in their measure. Justice! For many believers there is a conviction that God’s justice will soon come to earth in the form of anger, wrath and fire and bring the result of a destruction never seen upon this planet! Judgment and Justice – are these images of mayhem and obliteration really what the Bible describes? Is this world in for a dark and miserable night of pain from the wrath of God from which there is no tomorrow or is there an entirely different meaning and result of Judgment Day? What does the Bible REALLY say?
The future of the world. Knowing what it might look like can be both a scary thought as well as an exciting one as well. Think about it – what if the future of the world is dark and ominous – would you want to know about it? What if the future of the world was bright and promising – would you want to know about it? While we cannot know the minutia of our world to come, there is an amazing amount that we can know and I will tell you this – both of the previous future examples of the world are true! How would I know that? There is an easy one word answer: Daniel.
A few weeks ago, we began to unfold one of the greatest Bible prophecies ever spoken – the prophecy that Jesus himself spoke relating to his return. We talked about that return was a process and how his eventual revealing would be similar to a sunrise. We talked about how it was built upon the sacrificial work of his First Advent to pay the price for sin and how the Second Advent was to reclaim the world from Satan. On this program we continue that conversation and focus on just how he answered the three questions in our theme text…
It was about 2,000 years ago when Jesus walked this earth as a man to fulfill the necessary requirements of justice and give his life as a ransom price for Adam and therefore for all mankind. We see that sacrifice as the pivot point of human history – and it was, but Jesus himself assured us that his work to reconcile this world to God was in fact NOT completed at that time. Jesus said that he would come back to finish what he had started and that there would be certain signs in the world to determine when this would happen. So, can we read the signs of his return?
The time draws near – May 21st, 2011 is fast approaching along with the bold predictions of a rapture and the world beginning to come to an end. Last week we talked about the reasons WHY Jesus returns and looked at his return as an unfolding process rather than a singular and dramatic event. We will focus on HOW Jesus returns and in the light of these predictions for this coming Saturday, I would say that this is a pretty relevant subject. Is Jesus returning this coming Saturday, or are the predictions all wrong?
If you are a Bible-believing Christian, the prophecies about the return of Jesus are not in question. If you are a Bible-believing Christian, you know that the return of Jesus coincides with the End Times, again, not a question. The question is: Why does Jesus return? What is the mission, what is the focus, what is the purpose of his return? As we approach the well-publicized date of May 21, 2011, and its accompanied predictions of rapture, chaos and destruction, we thought we would spend the two Sundays leading up to it in an in depth conversation about the second coming of Christ, so today is the “why” of his coming and next Sunday is the “how.”