“When you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.”
More than a third of Americans believe that recent natural disasters point to Jesus’ imminent return. The Public Religion Research Institute says that this belief is especially strong among Protestants.
Today’s verses are one of the biblical passages that connect Christ’s second coming with weather-related phenomena. Here we read about some truly extraordinary events: “the roaring and tossing of the sea” and “the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”
This is a riveting portrayal of the end times. Provided to give hope and assurance to people in the midst of suffering, it’s more poetry than instruction manual. First, Jesus talks about “signs” that will be evident to everyone. Then we are told to be alert that the last day will not close on us “suddenly like a trap.”
One philosopher defined “anxiety” as “the next day.” We do not know what might happen tomorrow. A tragedy strikes someone every day: the loss of a loved one, a divorce, a spot on an X-ray. The time will come when that someone is us. Our world might collapse.
But God is in charge, no matter what happens. He is near. And he will get nearer yet in his time. That’s the sure promise of his eternal Word.
Our Father, what a joy to know that your kingdom is near! Help me overcome my worries, as I look forward to that great day when everyone will see you in your power and glory. Amen.
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