the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ
Yesterday in my meditation on scripture, going slowly now through the gospel according to Mark, I ran into the relatively long, arduous, a bit contentious in how to intepret it (is it speaking only about the fall of Jerusalem- 70 AD/CE, or does it include some future event?), and in some ways a bit puzzling, certainly challenging “Olivet discourse” (Mark 13).
It is a bit dizzying, not comfortable, and again puzzling in that some of the language often interpreted quite literally is surely very symbolic of world changing events. And the charge from our Lord at the end is simply to watch. And he made it clear to his disciples, actually Peter, James, John and Andrew who had asked him about the temple and the signs of the end, that what he said to them, he was saying to everyone, that everyone should watch.
That is an attitude that we need to hold on to as we await the Lord’s Second Coming, or reappearing. The teaching that the resurrected, ascended Lord is returning as King of kings and Lord of lords, as Lord and Savior, as King, is part of the gospel, the good news of Jesus for us and for the world. We work and pray in the church against the evil of this world, and for God’s good kingdom to prevail, but we know that this world is destined for trouble all along the way, even if some headway is made in various ways. But the needed change won’t come until the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Reading through that discourse seemed to put needed iron in my soul. That is part of what we Christians are to be about, part of what shapes us yes in a creedal sense: “we believe,” and what we believe is to impact our faith in how we live. It should help us to patiently persevere with a realistic view, not losing hope, but having an assured hope, since our hope is in God’s promise in Jesus, a promise of sure judgment and salvation, and nothing less than a new creation. Its fulfillment begun even now, and to be completed at Jesus’ return.