See Day 1 for an introduction of this brief series.
We've been reflecting on the following wondrous words from a suffering Servant for weary disciples in perilous times:
Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on a cloud with power and great glory. So when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near!” (Lk 21:27–28, NLT)
I believe these words were meant for the disciples in front of Jesus, and for every disciple since, who is a disciple because of them. They are words of hope. For no matter our circumstance, challenge, joy, happiness, or difficulty, Jesus is coming back, which is better by far. Our ultimate rescue and restoration is sure. And that future reality means something for our present living.
Peter knew this.
He had stood there, listening to those words uttered by Jesus as he taught in the temple. And he not forgotten them later in life when he himself would have disciples that he intended to encourage. Here is how he began:
This letter is from Simon Peter, a slave and apostle of Jesus Messiah.
I am writing to you who share the same precious faith we have. This faith was given to you because of the justice and fairness of Jesus Christ, our God and Savior.
2 May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord.
3 By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. 4 And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.
5 In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. (2 Pe 1:1–5, NLT)
It wouldn't take him long to get to the promise of the coming of the Son of Man; and goodness, as he speaks of this promise, he sounds an awful lot like his Savior as he encourages us. Take some time to meditate on how Peter applies the promise of the Second Coming to how we should follow Jesus until that day:
2 I want you to remember what the holy prophets said long ago and what our Lord and Savior commanded through your apostles.
3 Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. 4 They will say, “What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created.”
5 They deliberately forget that God made the heavens long ago by the word of his command, and he brought the earth out from the water and surrounded it with water. 6 Then he used the water to destroy the ancient world with a mighty flood. 7 And by the same word, the present heavens and earth have been stored up for fire. They are being kept for the day of judgment, when ungodly people will be destroyed.
8 But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. 9 The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment.
11 Since everything around us is going to be destroyed like this, what holy and godly lives you should live, 12 looking forward to the day of God and hurrying it along. On that day, he will set the heavens on fire, and the elements will melt away in the flames. 13 But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness.
14 And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight.
15 And remember, our Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved. (2 Pe 3:2–15, NLT)
And Peter isn't the only Apostle focused in on the Second Coming as critical to living on mission for Jesus. He himself writes, "This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him—16 speaking of these things in all of his letters" (2 Pe 3:15–16, NLT).
Beginning tomorrow, we'll see Peter was speaking truth, for in letter after letter, Paul can't stop pointing to the glorious hope of the Return of the King!