However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows. (Matthew 24:38)
Relate: It was the beginning of the school year, I think I was a sophomore at the time, when some guy had made this prophecy about God coming back. Everyone was talking about it and the Christians on campus were using the opportunity to witness. Our basic message was that the guy was wrong in picking a day but God is going to come back eventually… are you ready? This insane guy had even gone so far as to predict a specific time for the rapture. Funny thing is, few minutes before that predicted time someone in our school pulled a fire alarm. Of course it was a big joke once we got outside. Someone told me God needed to get us all outside so that I wouldn’t bump into the ceiling. Before heading back inside, I got together with a couple Christian friends and we decided we would hang out in the bathroom for a few minutes before heading back to our classes. I am sure there were others but I was the only vocal Christian in my specific classroom. You could almost hear that entire group sigh in relief when I finally walked through that door since no one saw when I had “disappeared”.
Harold Camping got it wrong. So did countless others through time. To a degree, so did the disciples. At the beginning of the chapter, Jesus predicts the fall of Jerusalem. The disciples ask three things. When will this happen, and what will be the sign of your return and of the end of the world? Jesus answered all three and a lot of what we look at as end times prophecy here was fulfilled leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem. A lot more of Jesus’ predictions are things that have been happening consistently through time. Google search it and you’ll find that the number and intensity of major earthquakes and such hasn’t changed much. What has changed is the interconnectedness of our world and the global population. So when we now we hear about major disasters on an almost daily basis it seems more damage is being done than ever before. Well, yes and no.
React: The disciples were absolutely convinced God was going to come back in their lifetime. They were wrong but that certainty motivated them to greater efforts. The generation following the was convinced of the same and worked with the same fervency. Throughout history a belief in His soon return has also been marked with a fervency to be about God’s work. Harold Camping was wrong. Twice. No, three times. Maybe he is up to four, I don’t know. He changes the end times date more than the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Mayans didn’t predict the end. Apocalyptic prophecies have come and gone and will continue to do so until, suddenly, He does come. I’m convinced it will be soon. His soon and my soon might not be the same but He will come back. The greatest danger is that, like those in the days of Noah, people will be so caught up in the ordinary drudgery of life that we don’t realize what has come upon us until it is too late. Will I be ready? Will you?
God, I know You’re coming. Let it be soon. Help me not just to be ready but to consistently live in the urgency of that immanent return. Let me pray harder, walk straighter, and speak bolder because this might be my last day to do those things. Don’t let that final hour catch me living ordinary.