Ready for Jesus’ Return?

Jentezen FranklinBy Jentezen Franklin4 Minutes

For thousands of years, people have speculated about the last days and the return of Jesus. The disciples were no different. Matthew 24 recounts one of the most important prophecies in the Bible. In that Scripture, we read how during the last week of Jesus’ life, the disciples went with Him to the temple. As they strolled through the architectural magnificence, the disciples somehow forgot that Jesus was the carrier of the presence of God, a presence that had vacated that temple.

The disciples thought Jesus would be as impressed as they were at what men had done to build the Kingdom of God, but Jesus was not at all impressed. He said: “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down” (Matthew 24:2).

Fast-forward 24 hours, and Jesus and the disciples were at the Mount of Olives, looking down on that same temple. Contemplating the words Jesus had spoken about the temple, they asked Him, “When will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (v. 3). And Jesus, in His unique way, instead of giving them the answer they wanted, said, “Take heed that no one deceives you” (v. 4).

Jesus didn’t load the disciples down with the many signs of the times, nor did He tell them when He was going to come. They didn’t need the exact time and every sign. What they needed most was simply to “take heed” of themselves. In other words, make sure they were on their toes. Make sure they were making the right, godly choices.

The same is true for us today. When responding to these return-of-Christ kinds of questions, Jesus said then what He is saying to believers all over the world today: “What you know or don’t know about the End Times isn’t nearly as important as who you are when I return.” He also gave us five steps we can take that will help us explore who we are as we approach the End Times:

Step #1 – Look Within
“Take heed that no one deceives you” (v. 4).

Step #2 – Look to Him
“See that you are not troubled” (v. 6).

Step #3 – Look Ahead
“He who endures to the end shall be saved” (v. 13).

Step #4 – Look Out
“This gospel of the kingdom will be preached” (v. 14).

Step #5 – Look Up
“Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near” (Luke 21:28).

I love how Jesus shifted gears in Matthew 24. It’s almost as though He did it on purpose. I’m sure by now He was used to people asking Him about the latest prophecy to satiate their curiosity or begging Him for a sign to bolster their faith. But Jesus knew what was most important – preparing His followers spiritually, emotionally, and mentally for what was to come.

We may be living in perilous times, but they are also times filled with tremendous opportunity. Don’t be filled with worry. Be strong and courageous because we serve the God of hope.

Excerpt taken from Jentezen Franklin’s Overcoming When You Feel Overwhelmed, Chosen Books, Baker Publishing Group, 2022. Used by permission.

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