Hey Bethel, this is Adam Phillips.
I wonder, have you ever had to wait a long time for something?
When I was twelve, I saved up enough money to buy a really nice basketball hoop. It had a glass backboard, breakaway rim (you know, just in case I wanted to dunk), and the height was adjustable. I was stoked.
I put the order in at the beginning of summer and waited for the delivery date like it was Christmas. But when the day finally came, the hoop didn’t. So, the next day I stuck close to the house, listening and watching for the delivery truck. And the next day. And the next day. And the next day. This went on for a few weeks before it was finally delivered. Those few weeks felt were pure agony. Waiting paralyzed me.
Here in Matthew 24, the disciples ask Jesus a few questions, one of which was, “Hey, so…when can we expect you back?”
Jesus spends the rest of the chapter answering their question. Bible readers have debated how to interpret his words since the day he spoke them. But there’s at least one part of what he says that everyone agrees on: nobody knows the day or hour of Jesus’ return, so there’s going to be some waiting involved.
I want to point out two truths from chapter 24 that help us wait well.
1. Jesus’ work won’t be hindered by anything.
Jesus says that while we wait, there will be wars, famines, earthquakes, and tribulations. Just add fires and riots and you’ve got 2020!
We’re all getting a taste of how turbulent times can alter our lives dramatically. But Jesus says the good news of his Kingdom won’t be hindered by anything! Look at verse 14: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
No matter what happens in our world, Jesus is busy doing his thing in us and through us and to the ends of the earth. He will build his Kingdom and nothing can stop him.
2. Jesus is coming. Full Stop.
Even though we don’t know the timing, Jesus is definitely coming back.
In vs 30, Jesus says he’s planning an epic return as the great King. He’s going to “come on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”
In vs 13, Jesus says that when he does come back, it will be to gather his people spread out throughout the world—that’s you and me, and the rest of his people spread out around the globe and down the timeline of history.
Waiting is tough. But it’s a little easier when we remember that our King is still at work. And his plans haven’t changed—he hasn’t forgotten about us. He’s still coming. Let’s cling to those truths and wait well.
Father, you know the day and time you’ve set to close this chapter of history. We don’t. You also know how hard it is for us to wait, and how easy it is for us to lose heart, become disgruntled, and maybe even cynical. Help us cling to these truths about Jesus so we can wait for him well. In Jesus’ name, Amen.