Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 5:1-2
“Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. “
Devotional: Living with Expectation
In this podcast episode, the speaker reflects on the anticipation of Jesus’ return and the importance of living each day with a sense of readiness. The Apostle Paul addresses the church in Thessalonica, who were growing discouraged as they awaited Christ’s second coming. They had assumed that Jesus would return before they faced death, but as time passed, their hope wavered.
Just like the early believers, we too can become disheartened when we don’t see immediate fulfillment of God’s promises or when we face trials and losses. However, Paul reminds us that the exact timing of Christ’s return is unknown to us. It will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night. Therefore, we are called to live with a sense of urgency and expectation, always ready for His return.
- Embrace the uncertainty: Instead of becoming discouraged by the unknown, we can find comfort in the fact that God’s timing is perfect. We must trust that He knows the best time for Jesus’ return and focus on living faithfully in the present.
Live with purpose: Knowing that our time on earth is limited, we should strive to make the most of every opportunity to serve and honor God. Let us be intentional in our relationships, sharing the love of Christ with others, and using our gifts and talents to make a difference in the world.
Seek daily transformation: Rather than waiting until the last moment to turn back to God, let us commit to a daily pursuit of Him. Cultivate a vibrant prayer life, immerse yourself in His Word, and seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit. By continually growing in our relationship with the Lord, we will be prepared for His return whenever it may be.
- Reflect on your perspective: Are you living with a sense of expectation for Christ’s return, or have you become complacent? Take time to evaluate your heart and renew your commitment to live each day with purpose and anticipation.
Prioritize your relationship with God: Set aside dedicated time each day to pray, read the Bible, and seek God’s presence. Allow His Word to shape your thoughts, actions, and priorities.
Share the hope of Christ: Look for opportunities to share the good news of Jesus with others. Whether through acts of kindness, conversations, or intentional evangelism, let us be bold in sharing the hope we have in Him.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the reminder that Jesus will return, and we must be ready. Help us to live with a sense of expectation and urgency, knowing that our time on earth is limited. Strengthen our faith and empower us to live each day for Your glory. May we be faithful witnesses of Your love and grace, sharing the hope of Christ with those around us. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Podcast Transcript: The Truth About Jesus's Return
This morning I was all over the place trying to really articulate my thoughts on what’s going on at the end of chapter 4 and the beginning of chapter 5 because it’s the Apostle Paul talking about Jesus returning. And at the end of chapter five, it goes into even more instructions on how to live and some of the things that we should be doing to please God in our life, like encouraging others and being joyful and being continually in prayer and giving thanks and everything. And there’s so much just even at the very tail end of chapter five that I’m not going to get into. But the end of chapter 4 and the beginning of chapter 5 had me all over the place.
Reflecting on Jesus’ Life and Resurrection
And what I mean by that is I got back into the end of Luke and at the beginning of Acts to really hear and see what Jesus really said at the end of his life here on earth. And if you remember, Easter is this Sunday. And it’s a super exciting time. It’s one of my favorite Sundays to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. It really confirms that he was who he said he was and really proved who he was through that. And to go back and I wanted to read some of the what happened after the resurrection. So Jesus goes on trial to around this time of the week. Jesus goes on trial, and he is convicted of basically saying that he was God. And the religious people didn’t like that at all. It was blasphemy, that you’re saying that you’re God, and that is against the law, basically. And so they put him before Pontius Pilate, and he didn’t want anything to do with it, because just talking with Jesus, Pontius Pilate is like, this guy really hasn’t done anything wrong. And so even back then, it was political, right? All the people wanted him to be dead. And Pontius Pilate, you could tell by his actions and the words that he said that he did not think that this was the right thing to do. So even being political at that time, he’s like, I’m going to give these guys a choice. I’m going to let them either free Jesus or free this murderer, Barabbas. And he thought he was getting away with it by like, of course, they’re not going to free the murderer. They’re going to let Jesus free, because really, what has Jesus done that’s worth dying for? Why would they want to kill him for saying that he was God? And the crowd wanted him to set free Barabbas. And he had to go on with this, just reading through that and then his death on the cross, his burial. And they just knew that they were going to take him out of the grave and say that he had risen from the dead. And so, when they put him in the grave, they left guards there to guard it, because they didn’t want to deal with this anymore. They wanted Jesus dead, and they wanted him gone, and that’s it. We don’t want anybody saying that he rose from the grave. Let’s put some guards here, and we kind of know what happens through that. The guards see an angel and the whole bit. But to go on past that, when Jesus rose from the dead, three days later, Resurrection Sunday. Even his followers didn’t really recognize him at first. It’s like they weren’t even expecting it. And so he’s there and he reveals himself and have all these eyewitnesses. And Jesus is around after he rose from the grave for 40 days. For 40 days, he’s out and about talking with people and encouraging people and revealing himself to people. There’s all these witnesses and witness accounts. And that’s how we have acts written of what was going on at that time and what Jesus was saying. And then, after 40 days, in front of his disciples, he rose up into heaven. Like, he just ascended and was gone in front of their very eyes. And they knew that he was going to be returning. He said he was going to be returning. And so, The scene in the Acts chapter one is they watch it. You gotta imagine that that probably blew their minds that he just rose up to the heavens and then they were just waiting there. Like he says, he’s coming back. Let’s wait.
Living in Anticipation of Jesus’ Return
And the reason why I get into all this is because You know, eventually they learn that, you know, He’s coming back. He didn’t say when. And then you can tell that this church in Thessalonica, because of beginning at chapter 5, where the Apostle Paul has to almost, has to address this because they’re starting to get discouraged because Jesus hasn’t come back yet. And verse 1 in chapter 5 says, Now, brothers, about the times and dates, we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying peace and safety, destruction will come on them suddenly as labor pains on a pregnant woman and they will not escape. He’s talking about in those first few verses and the end of chapter 4 and the beginning parts of chapter 5 of we don’t know when he’s coming back. And that’s by design. He wants us living for him all the time like he’s going to come back at any time.
Living Each Day as if it’s the Last
I have four kids. I’ve gone through the pregnancy and the laboring process. Obviously, I’m a dude. I didn’t do, like, any of the hard work. Except, I do know that it doesn’t matter what doctors you go to, or how much you know, or how many kids you’ve had, when we had our fourth kid, we did not know when he was going to come. Sure, we have a date, we have an idea, we know, okay, you’ve come this far along and we know that typically 40 weeks, like we get it, right? But we didn’t know what day he was coming and that freaked me out because my wife gives birth so fast. I was afraid we’re going to have this baby in the car. For our second child, we were at the hospital for 14 minutes and I had my baby in my arms. It has just been crazy when it comes to our child birthing process. I know there’s a lot of people mad at us because they’re in labor forever, but it’s still scary not knowing when it’s going to come, so you have to be ready. You have to be ready, and that’s the life that God wants us to live. Like, don’t just live the way that you want to live, and then, I mean, if he told us a date he was coming back, say, hey, I’m going to come back on this day, or hey, you’re going to die on June 5th of 2022. It’s like, okay, well, I’ll plan around that, and I’ll kind of do whatever I want to do, and then I’ll get right with God right there at the end. I’ll turn back to Him right at the end. And that’s not the life He wants us to live. He wants us to love Him and to chase after Him every day of our life because we don’t know when we’re going to go. I might not make it home today. I could die in a car crash on the way home today. We don’t know. No day is promised to us. No minute is promised to us. Jesus can come back at any time and this world is done. He’s going to call back those who have been following Him. And it’s It’s unpredictable. And people try to predict this stuff. You can go online, there’s all these dates, and there’s times where people are like, oh, this is the day. I remember the Mayan calendar, I think, ended in 2012. Oh, that’s the day. It’s like there’s always somebody that’s coming out with a new date. And the Apostle Paul is telling them, hey, look, we don’t know the time and the hour. He’s going to come like a thief in the night. It’s like, well, I lock my doors at night, right, just in case, but if I knew for a fact Fact that the thief was gonna come on this date. I’d be there with the weapon in hand and be perfectly ready, but We have to prepare my life because I don’t know when or if Jesus is gonna come back in my lifetime. I mean, I believe that he will But I have no proof of it. It could be a thousand years from now, but I know that Jesus has been Lived his life and died and rose almost 2,000 years ago really close to that like the 2,000 year anniversary of his death will come up in my lifetime, in the next 15-20 years. So that is, to me, significant. And the progress in technology and the things that at the end times say when Jesus will come back, a lot of those things are starting to be fulfilled, or I can see how they’ll be fulfilled. So I just feel like in my lifetime it’ll happen, but if not, That doesn’t really change the way that I live. I should be living every day really like it’s my last, because I don’t know and it’s not promised to me. And in a weird way, that’s encouraging to me, because this life on earth is so short. Our souls live forever. So 100 years from now, 1,000 years from now, 10,000 years from now, I’m going to be in the presence of God, worshiping Him, and it’s going to be the most awesome thing. And this life is so short. And there’s a lot of pain involved in this life. And just, there’s a lot of sin in the world that’s really caused the pain. It’s just not a place necessarily that I want to be for hundreds of years. So the limited life on earth to me is, it’s just a good thing. I get time to build my relationship up with God and to serve Him and to share Him with others and looking forward to today.
You can tell that the church was getting anxious because they didn’t know when he was coming back and they were getting discouraged because they were seeing their friends pass away and they had all just assumed that Jesus was going to come back before they were going to die. And that didn’t happen. And so I know that that’s the main reasons for a lot of these verses. But it’s encouraging me. I know he’s coming back. and I’m excited for it and I’m super excited for this Sunday celebrating Easter and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Hopefully you’re plugged in at a church and you’re gonna be going this Sunday and just enjoy the worship and reflecting on Jesus’s life, his death, his burial, his resurrection, and the impact that that has or should have on your life. Those are my thoughts on the end of chapter four, beginning of chapter five, and for what it’s worth, I hope you’ve enjoyed it. And I always would like to encourage you to get into the word yourself because there is so much more here that I’m not even touching on in this podcast that is really life changing.