Many years ago, my younger brother and his wife were expecting their first child. Being their first experience with childbirth, they were anxious about how they would know when it was time to head to the hospital.
So, they stayed in touch with their doctor who kept assuring them they had plenty of time and there was no hurry. But my brother and his wife were still nervous, anxiously awaiting the signs that the baby was coming. What the doctor could not foresee is that my sister-in-law was not typical of most women.
Sometime during the wee hours of the night, my brother and his wife sensed it was time to head to the hospital. On their way there, they realized just how quickly this baby was coming!
They arrived at the emergency room entrance and my brother jumped out of the car and ran inside to get help—but NO ONE was in sight! He grabbed a wheelchair and rushed back to the car to get his wife. She gingerly stepped out of the car and gripped the wheelchair with both hands.
Then, a tremendous contraction overtook her, and the baby came right there! The umbilical cord and several inches of newly fallen snow cushioned his fall. As this was happening, an ambulance had rolled in and the paramedics saw what was happening. They scooped up the baby and took both mama and baby safely inside. Fortunately, the baby suffered no ill effects from the fall.
Similar to the birth of a child, we also know that Jesus is coming back but we don’t know when. Jesus said, “So you also must be ready, because the son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.” (Matthew 24:44 NIV)
But like that doctor, many of us have come to think we have all the time in the world. “After all, it’s been 2000 years since Jesus said He would return.”
But the Apostle Peter warns us:
Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. They will say, “What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created.” (2 Peter 3:3-4 NLT)
Three times in Revelation, Jesus says, “I am coming soon!” (Revelation 3:11; 22:7, 20) Like my brother and his wife awaiting their firstborn, we need to watch and be ready. But I fear that many of us have lost our sense of urgency about the Lord’s return. Maybe we’re not scoffing like those mentioned by Peter, but we’ve become complacent. We’re going about our daily lives as though Jesus were not coming soon.
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.
Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. (2 Peter 3:9-12 NIV)
How do we speed His coming? By making disciples and living as Christ’s disciples. Peter explained that Jesus is delaying His coming because He’s being patient WITH US, “not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
And in Matthew 24, the chapter where Jesus urges us to watch and be ready for His return, He says, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, AND THEN THE END WILL COME.” (Matthew 24:14 NIV)
As followers of Jesus, we want to be watchful and expectant. Jesus is coming soon—He said so! We also want to “speed His coming” by making disciples and living as His disciples. This applies to all who know Jesus, not just those in “professional ministry.”
There is a tremendous sense of urgency. Can you feel it? Jesus is coming back soon! We don’t know when, but we don’t want His coming to take us by surprise. And to think that you and I can even speed His return by sharing the Gospel with others and making disciples.
My intent is not to lay some heavy burden on us. Making disciples is much simpler than we think. I urge you to read my little book, The Simplicity of Disciple-Making and 7 Ways We’ve Complicated It! See how simple disciple-making is and become an active discipler of others.
“He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.” (Revelation 22:20 NIV)