“If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” -John 14:3
The First Advent occurred in the winter of 4 BC in the very small village of Bethlehem. The Second Advent of Jesus occurs five miles north of Bethlehem, just east of Jerusalem, on a day that no one knows except God the Father.
For the saved people of the world the Second Advent of Jesus means that time is running short. For the unreached peoples of the world the Second Advent of Jesus means the very same thing. Time is running short.
No human knows the day, but we are told by Jesus that it will be a sudden, unexpected day (Matthew 24:36). It is a “thief in the night” kind of day.
Because the Second Advent of Jesus is eminent, we are commanded to be watchful, vigilant, and faithful. We are instructed by Paul to be people who “love the appearing of Jesus.”
“In the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.” -2 Timothy 4:8
What does it mean to “love the appearing of Jesus”?
It means much more than we can cover in a blog, but there are a few foundational truths about “loving His appearing” we are addressing today.
Longing for His Return
Loving the appearing of Jesus must mean that we have a heart longing—even an ache—for the return of Jesus.
As we seek Him every day in the spiritual disciplines, we cultivate in ourselves an emotional longing for Him and for His bodily return. We become like the person who is waiting impatiently for his or her spouse to return from deployment. We begin to build up an emotional anticipation of His return.
We ache and long to see Him.
Faithfulness in His Absence
Loving His appearing also means that we are faithful in what He commanded of us in His absence.
It is required of us as stewards of His message that we are faithful people (1 Corinthians 4:1). So, we “love His appearing” by faithfully sharing the good news about Him. We demonstrate that love by sharing the message with lost people near us and by sharing it with lost people who are very distant from us.
We become people who give, go, and pray in the fight to bring the gospel to people who are very distant from us geographically, spiritually, relationally, and religiously.
Awareness of His Return
Lastly, we love His appearing by “keeping an eye to the heavens”. By this I mean that we cultivate in ourselves the constant awareness of His soon appearing.
Like the parent who keeps glancing out the window for the school bus or the woman who keeps glancing out to sea for her husband’s skiff, we keep glancing to the sky for His appearing.
There remains a window—brief or not so brief—when we can bring the light into the lostness.
“Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus.” -Revelation 20:20