Hey, have you ever seen that one religious guy in the movies that has the sign saying “The End Is Near” or something like that?
That character always looks a little crazy and they are generally meant to be the brunt of jokes. And they’re usually just a prop and not really part of the show.
While the message of the second coming of Jesus and the end of the world as we know it, is biblical, is it really the message that Jesus wants His followers to share in the 21st century, or is there something that will resonate more?
Jesus Prefers The Gospel To “Get Ready”.
The main problem with the “Get Ready” message is that it’s not the Gospel. Generally, when you hear it, there is no good news in it. Not a shred. Jesus instructed His followers to share the “good news”.
If you look in the faces of those who are giving the “get ready” message, they don’t seem to be too happy about it either. Some look sad. Others look down right angry with all those non-believers out there.
Good news puts a smile on your face.
Jesus addresses the problem with the “get ready” messaging in Luke 26:25,26:
25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; 26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
Jesus contrasts this with those of His followers that have chosen a less stressful approach for His second coming in 21:18,19:
18 But there shall not an hair of your head perish. 19 In your patience possess ye your souls.
Jesus is all about stress reduction. He is all about settling into the truth about How the Father and He has got everything covered.
“Wars and rumors of wars”? you can’t do nothing about it.
“Ebola, HIV, Famine, Climate change”? There is nothing that you as an individual can do to effect a change. Collectively, yes. Maybe. But in your own home, in your own person…?
Jesus wants you to sit back and go for the ride. There is nothing that you can do except watch how the Godhead handles it.
The Gospel Is God’s Antidote
“So, you’re saying that God doesn’t want us to be ready for the second coming, or rapture, or end of the world (what ever your flavor may be)?”
No. But what is being suggested is that “being ready” means something totally different to Jesus, than it does to fallen humanity.
The Gospel is the message that will get you “ready” for any adverse event.
Whether it’s the loss of a loved one or the end of the world. The Gospel is the message that God has provided as an antidote for anything the world can throw at His children.
Paul refers to the Gospel as God’s power… see Romans 1:16
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
The Gospel is the actual creative power (or ability to do) of God.
The Gospel, when internalized, will change your view of the world. It removes fear and other negative emotions from the human mind.
Jesus doesn’t want you to be fearful. He doesn’t want you to be worried. He wants you to be confident. He understands that you will get a lot more done when you feel good about things.
Through Paul, Jesus reminds us in 2 Tim. 1:7:
6 Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
And similarly Paul exhorts believers to understand what’s really at issue and to have “boldness” in Ephesians 3:10:
The purpose [of the gospel] is that all the angelic powers should now see the complex wisdom of God’s plan being worked out through the Church, in conformity to that timeless purpose which he centered in Jesus, our Lord. It is in this same Jesus, because we have faith in him, that we dare, even with confidence, to approach God. In view of these tremendous issues, I beg you not to lose heart [be fearful] because I am now suffering for my part in bringing you the Gospel. Indeed, you should be honoured.
Think about this just for a moment….
The Gospel is the message that the Creator of all known (and unknown) creation has given personally to each and everyone of us. The Creator…
The bible also refers to the Creator as All Powerful, Immortal, All Wise… and so on.
Ask yourself what message this type of being would want you to hear, especially when He’s on your side? He’s got your back.
Paul puts it like this in 1Corinthians 1:23,24
23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
Christ… the power (or ability to do) of God.
The Gospel message centers around God’s ability (not yours) to do…
To God, getting ready and being ready means that you have confidence, boldness, and happiness. Not a fearful outlook about the things happening in the world that you have no control over.
If the brand of Christianity you see or experience the most doesn’t put a smile on your face…, if that gospel you hear preached (or are preaching) doesn’t tend to reduce stress in those that hear it…, it may be time to take another look at it.