Sunday I wrap up my Words in Red series with a message on the Second Coming. This series has focused exclusively on the teachings of Jesus. We’ve talked about the kingdom, discipleship, sin, redemption, unity, the great commission, the great commandments, etc. Those are all topics that I fully expected to be a part of this study, but Sunday’s topic was a bit of a surprise to me. When I laid out the outline for the series I wasn’t expecting the Second Coming to be one of Jesus’ main teachings, but there it was.
The criteria I used for determining the topics focused on quantity over quality. In other words, if Jesus had a lot to say about a particular subject then I tried to include it. My unscientific approach to developing the outline was simply to read the words of Jesus, paying special attention to the longer discourses. I was a little surprised to find that some of the longest discourses dealt with the Second Coming. I don’t remember that being a big emphasis in the church of my youth. I remember singing “Jesus is Coming Soon” and “There’s a Great Day Coming” but other than that I don’t remember much teaching on end times. Of course, I’m not pointing any fingers. I’ve been in ministry for 8 years now and I’ve never preached a sermon on the Second Coming. Why not? Why are we ignoring this teaching of Jesus?
I thought of a few reasons…
1) It confuses us. Jesus talks a lot about his return, but not much of it makes sense. Maybe we’re too far removed from the culture or maybe he was just being intentionally vague. At any rate, we don’t like talking about things we don’t know much about.
2) It scares us. If we’ve heard any talk of his return at all, its typically focused on the gloom and doom side of things. Just do a quick search of the Internet. Most aren’t emphasizing the glorious return, but the terrible tribulation. We don’t usually spend a lot of time talking about our own death and destruction.
3) We don’t want to be put in the same camp with that guy on TV that hollers a lot and is absolutely convinced that Jesus is coming back on 02-20-2020. Let’s face it. There’s a lot of weirdness out there concerning the second coming. There’s a lot of kooky teaching. We don’t talk about it because we don’t want people to think that we’re like those people.
And yet…we need to be talking it don’t we? Jesus talked about it. The apostles talked about it. So shouldn’t we? Besides, do we really want Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins to be the only Christian voices out there concerning Jesus’ return?