“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. his will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. his will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.” (Revelation 21:1-7)
Jesus is coming back! This is an absolute truth that Christians cling to since it is our hope of things to come. Sometimes I get so caught up in the ebb and flow of life that I forget this life-changing fact. It’s not that I am unaware of his return, but I project this reality to a time in the future when I am long gone. The mystery wrapped up in the return of Jesus also leaves me wrestling with more questions than answers.
I don’t think I am alone in this thinking. As Christians we anticipate his return, but since we do not know when or exactly how it will happen, our tendency may be to leave that fact alone. It will happen, though, and we will not see it coming (see Matthew 24:44).
The encouragement for us, even in the midst of mystery, is that Jesus has already won. His return is the beginning of an everlasting kingdom where those who know him will get to spend eternity in paradise. In anticipation of this, we are told to simply be ready. The early church was ready. They believed that Jesus could return any day, and they lived with the anticipation of his return and life everlasting.
Just like the early church, we can live with the same encouragement and anticipation for what is to come. Jesus is coming back, and his return will bring his church into life everlasting. To quote the grand storyteller, C.S. Lewis, on life everlasting:
“It goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”
We believe in Jesus returning, and we believe in life everlasting, where each day will be better than the one before.