2020. What else can I say but what a year. Set against the backdrop of the glamorous 20s, this new decade held such excitement and promise. A year of “perfect vision.” A year when great things were on the horizon. The illusion was broken just two short months into this new decade with the rise of COVID-19. Suddenly, a decade that once held so much hope shattered before us, leaving the world shaken and terrified of our neighbors and family. At no other time in our collective memories have we needed the hope offered by the Christian faith then at this very moment.
Of all things, the Christian faith offers hope. Hope in a risen Savior. Hope in the promise that he will return and set all things to rights. Hope that the uncertainty we face is only temporary, that Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us where he will wipe away every tear and death shall be no more. This Jesus promises us a physical resurrection, a fact he testified to as he held out his hands before Thomas, telling him to feel the scars left by the crucifixion. This is the Jesus who will come with a trumpet blast accompanied by blazing fire and a powerful angelic army. It will be a moment when all eyes will see him and every nation will bow before him. The great and terrible day when he comes to rescue his faithful ones.
Yet, just as God expected Israel to remain holy, devoted to the commands of Moses, and not taken captive by false gods, Jesus calls his people to the same vigilance and purity. As the time draws near, deception will run rampant; believers need to be on their guard so as not to be deceived by those who claim to be the Christ, who perform counterfeit signs and wonders to lure the unsuspecting away from truth. This is a time when so much is riding on the Church to be faithful. Believers need to rise up as a royal priesthood, a holy nation, doing good deeds among the unbelieving as a demonstration of the truth of the Gospel; however, we should unashamedly teach there is penalty for disobedience at the coming judgment where all will stand before a holy God and give an account.
Looking at the Revelation of John and the words of Jesus in Matthew 24, it is easy to get caught up in controversy. As the Church we can speculate and argue points of doctrine, but not to the of neglect Jesus’ call to go and make disciples of all nations. Ours is the duty of sharing with all people that God will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed. The God of Heaven testified to this blessed hope as he hung on a cross, paying the penalty for sin once for all, and throwing open wide the gates of the kingdom for all who accept him as Lord and Savior.
Matthew 12:12-14, 36; 24:24, 30-31
John 14:1-3; 20:24-29
1 Corinthians 15:35-58
1 Thessalonians 4:13-14
2 Thessalonians 1:7, 9
1 Peter 1:3-9; 2:9; 3:15