If Jesus were to return tomorrow, would you be ready for Him? This is a fairly terrifying question that preachers ask at Christian conferences, and it can cause us to re-examine our priorities and character (as well as perhaps secretly feeling disappointed that we’d miss out on that party next month).
The Old Testament prophets ramp up the expectations of a coming Messiah, king, shepherd, and ruler.
Malachi, the final prophet, predicts a messenger who will prepare the way before the Lord comes (Mal. 3:1) and says the prophet Elijah will return before then (Mal. 4:5–6).
Then there is silence from God for several hundred years. Enter Gabriel, who announces the birth of a prophet, using the words of those exact verses in Malachi, ‘in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children… to make ready a people prepared for the Lord’ (v17).
After all this time of waiting, finally, the Messiah is coming. The people must turn back to God with repentance so they are ready to receive the Lord when He comes.
John the Baptist is the preface to the book, the overture to the symphony, the trailer of the movie.
As we wait for Jesus’ second coming, it’s worth reflecting on John the Baptist’s role. It’s been so many years since Jesus’ first coming, that we can get complacent and think it won’t happen in our lifetime, just as Jesus’ generation weren’t really expecting the Messiah then.
What would it mean to live expectantly in the light of Jesus’ return? Would our lives look different? And how can we be like John the Baptist, returning people’s hearts to God?
A Prayer To Make:
‘Lord Jesus, thank You that one day You will return and make this world right again. Please purify our hearts and prepare the church as people who reflect Your love. Amen.’
An Action To Take:
Evaluate your own life: is there anything you would change if you knew Christ was returning? Pray too for opportunities to tell people about Jesus.
Scripture To Consider:
Joel 2:11–14; Mal. 4:1–6; Heb. 10:19–25; 2 Pet. 3:3–14