“So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into. You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected. (NLT)
We live in an in-between world, between the comings of Jesus. He came once to offer friendship with God and eternal life. He will come again to check on what we have done with that offer. He came once as a suffering servant, he will come again as king of the world.
Followers of Jesus can get this wrong in two ways. One way is to blithely ignore the fact that one day Jesus will come to wind up this world’s affairs. We will be those who failed to keep watch, those who live as if this world is all there is and there will be no final accounting.
Another way we can get it wrong is to get very focussed on precise details, confusing the metaphorical and the literal, trying to figure out just when Jesus will return. True, he has given us some general indications, but also warns us not to make exact, speculative predictions.
From time to time, we hear of alarmist reports that since the world is in such terrible shape, Jesus’ return is just around the corner. Such alarmists need to read a bit more history: the world has been through terrible times many times before.
However, that need not make us complacent. One day he will return and usher in the new heavens and the new earth. Our task is not to speculate. Our twofold tasks are to be about Jesus’ business in the meantime, and to be sure we are trusting in his goodness and mercy to be sure we will be citizens of that new heaven and new earth.