33 So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. 34 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.
In Matthew 24, we have the Savior speak to us of world-changing events. Some of them are first century events. Some of them include his actual return. All of them are to get the attention of those who follow him.
Many people have fairly passionate opinions about the promises of upcoming events including the return of Jesus. People differ in their view of the order of events, of a period of tribulation, of a millennium that is either literal or figurative, of the victory of the church and the response of the world. And I will not say that these are irrelevant. But I wonder if we get too bogged down in timing arguments and forget the point that Jesus wants us to see. He will return.
Without reproducing all my sermons on this passage, I would suggest to you that Jesus, in Matthew 24, is letting his church know that his return is near. This is not to say that it will happen soon. Instead, I think that Jesus is showing us that he has fulfilled all the requirements for his return to happen quickly, possibly within any generation. I believe that the Savior wants us to grasp that we cannot look at our age in history, be that the latter first century or the early 21st century and say that there is just no way that Jesus could return in our lifetimes.
So, with timing arguments set aside, let me ask you, believer, do you live as though the Savior could return while you still live and breathe? I’m not saying he will. I’m simply asking if you live with that sort of utterly world-transforming event as a possibility in your mind? Do you live in the light of eternity? Do you live looking for and longing for the Savior to finish setting up his kingdom? Do you live remembering that the wicked of this world will not stand? Do you live believing that the church will be victorious regardless of the persecution of the world? Do you live believing that the Son of god will in fact stand again on this earth and will set all things right?
I believe our world changes when we stop living with our eyes only on this world. We can become practical naturalists, forgetting that the God who made this world has broken into it in the past, still rules it, and will radically transform it. Things like upcoming elections matter. Things like life-saving laws matter. Things like paying your bills matter. But, dear friends, they matter in a temporary sense. The Savior has won. The Savior will win. The Savior is King. The Savior will be King. And we are made for far more than we experience today.