The Return of Christ

Acts 1:11

“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

As we celebrate the first coming of Christ as a baby in a manger, we should remember that Jesus is coming back.  Jesus fulfilled His mission of the forgiveness of our sins but He has yet to reign on David’s throne and fulfill other prophecies of the Old Testament.

There have been many over the years who claimed to be the second coming of Christ but they can easily be disputed.  Jesus will return very visibly just as He left this earth.

We should not get caught up in the debate over when Jesus is returning.  Jesus gave us signs of the end of the age and by examining those signs people from every generation have believed that Christ could return in their lifetime.

What we do know is that Christ’s return is imminent.  When Jesus said that He was returning soon, it meant that it could occur at any time.  All we know for sure is that we are one day closer to His return than we were the day before.

In the meantime, we shouldn’t live our lives any differently.  We should love one another as if Christ were returning today.  We should seek the lost as if they had only one chance to hear the gospel.

Jesus is coming back.  We don’t know when but it doesn’t matter.  We should look forward to that day because regardless when it is, we will see Jesus face to face one day.

Jesus Glorified

John 12:28

“Father, glorify your name!”

   Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.”

Glory is a very abstract concept.  We can’t really picture it.  Unlike justice or righteousness it’s difficult to describe or even recognize it when we see it.  We know when a righteous act has taken place.  We can see when justice has been done.  But what does glory look like?

To glorify something is to exalt or revere it.  It is done as an act of praise or thanksgiving.  We glorify Christ when we pray in His name.  We also glorify Him when we gather to worship or tell others about the gospel.

Glorification happens in many forms.  Even God can glorify His name and that of Christ.  In doing so He causes others to bring glory to Him.

While glory is still difficult to truly define, we do it often.  Whatever we do that brings honor to God and causes others to reflect upon His goodness is glorifying.  We don’t have to think about it or fully understand it to take part in it.

Christ as High Priest

Hebrews 4:14-15

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.

It is easy to look upon pastors as being disconnected from the world.  Most are not working in the everyday world but instead spend all day in a sort of church bubble.  While it would be unfair to say that pastors do not understand the temptations that Christians face in the “real world” the perception is certainly present in many churches.

Jesus lived His life in the real world.  He spent much of his time with tax collectors, prostitutes, and other sinners.  In the process He was tempted in every way imaginable but still did not fall victim to that temptation.

Jesus is able to sympathize with our weaknesses because He has walked in our shoes.  It is for this reason that He makes the perfect high priest.  He does not expect anything from us that we are incapable of doing.

Jesus knows what is best for us because He has been here with us.  While it is hard to live the Christian life at times, we should remember that Jesus does not ask anything from us that He didn’t already do.  Of course we will fail at times because we are sinful.  But this is where Jesus as high priest comes in again.  Jesus is at the right hand of the Father asking for our forgiveness because He knows how hard it is to live our life.

Christ the Rock

1 Corinthians 10:3-4

They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.

In the desert, Moses was told to speak to a rock and water would flow out of it.  Instead, in anger he struck the rock and was punished by being unable to enter the Promised Land.

This seems like a very arbitrary punishment, especially considering all of the good things that Moses did.  However the rock was symbolic of Christ and by striking the rock, Moses struck Christ.  In that instance, as is discussed in the passage in 1 Corinthians, Jesus is the rock who is a provider of needs.

Jesus is the rock in another sense in the parable of the wise and foolish builders.  The wise man built his house upon the rock and the foolish one built his house upon the sand.  When the storms came, the house on the sand was destroyed while the house on the rock stood firm.

Jesus is our rock and our foundation.  If our life is built soundly on the foundation of Christ, we will be able to weather the storms of life.  Those whose life is centered around money, popularity, sex, or anything else will find their life crumble when that foundation doesn’t hold together in the storms of life.

It is good to remember that Christ provides for our needs.  It is also good to remember that He will see us through the storms of life that come our way.

Christ as Judge

Revelation 19:11

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war.

We don’t often think of Christ as judge, and certainly not at Christmas time when our image of Jesus is as a little baby.  Many people are uncomfortable with the image portrayed in Revelation of Christ waging war and enacting justice.

While many people do not want to think about judgment, Christians should not fear it.  Jesus has paid the price for our sins and we are not at war with God.

Instead we should take heart in the justice of Christ.  Justice is something that we seek but do not always find in the world today.  Many countries have no real justice for their citizens.  Even in the best democratic countries it is often said that justice favors the rich and powerful.

Christ’s justice is just however.  It is handed out evenly without showing favor to anyone or incorrectly punishing the righteous.  Jesus knows who is with Him and who is against Him.

As Christians, we should not take vengeance on our enemies but God is able to and it is right for Him to do so.  It is because His justice will be handed out properly and without sin.  It will be fair for all, even those who are punished because God will righteously punish the wicked and reward the just.  This is Christ’s right as judge.