Jesus promised that he will return soon. But it has been 2000 years. What does he mean by soon?
Just a few examples of this great promise from our Savior, here are some scriptures: Matthew 24:30-31; John 14:1-3; Acts 1:11; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 4:13-16; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 9:28; Revelation 22:7, 12, 20.
So with this promise firmly affixed in Scripture, Jesus taught us to watch the seasons to know when his coming is close (Luke 12:54-56). But as we’re watching, we must not get distracted in the body of Christ with trying to figure out exact dates.
Jesus teaches that no one knows the time that the Father will send him for us (Matthew 24:36-37; Acts 1:7). As much as we long for him and agree with John when he says, “Even so, Lord, Come!” (Revelation 22:20) Jesus has reasons for not returning yet.
We have been waiting for a long time. Why has he not returned yet? This is not a question of disbelief. It is a question out of our longing to see our Lord. We can watch for all the signs Jesus gave for his return (Matthew 24-25).
It’s hard not to become impatient as we wait. That’s why Jesus gives us work to do for his kingdom until he returns. We pray and we witness about Jesus. And this is part of the reason why Jesus has waited so long.
Even the apostles and disciples expected to see Jesus return within their lifetimes. But when the first generation of Christians and the apostles were passing away from natural causes and from persecution, they began to write Scripture to make sure that the testimony of Jesus would outlive them.
One of God’s greatest desires is that people know and serve him. Peter is helpful in answering this question from 2 Peter 3:1-13. Apparently by the time he wrote his second letter, people were beginning to question when Jesus would return.
Some of the best takeaways from this chapter that encourage us are:
- God has promised through Scripture that Jesus will return (1 Peter 3:1-3).
- People will scoff at these prophecies and predictions (2 Peter 3:4-7). But God will bring judgment upon them when Jesus returns. These are questions out of disbelief.
- God’s timing is not our timing (2 Peter 3:8). We don’t know the exact timing of his plans. He didn’t allow Jesus to come until the fullness of time (Galatians 4:4). We must trust that his timing is perfect.
- God is waiting for the full number of people to accept Christ (2 Peter 3:9). Until everyone who will accept Jesus enters God’s kingdom, he is giving everyone the opportunity to repent.
- We must be ready because Jesus will come quickly (2 Peter 3:10). And once he does, things will happen fast.
- We wait on the Lord and live holy lives until he brings the new heavens and new earth (2 Peter 3:11-13). Waiting on the Lord is active. We are expecting him to return soon and we live holy lives before others that they might recognize Jesus in us.
These are some excellent reasons why Jesus hasn’t returned yet. Even so, we long for him to return so that we might be reunited with him in person. We must be patient for all of God’s purposes to work out so that Jesus can return for us.