4-11-21 | Because Jesus | Terrie Kennington
When I think of the word “anticipation”, the chorus of the Carly Simon song (that bears the same name) starts singing in my head. I really only remember the chorus because of a ketchup commercial. The song played as a bottle of ketchup was tipped to the side, and the audience watched and waited until the very end of the commercial for a glob of ketchup to come out of the bottle. “Anticipation is making me wait- it’s keeping me wai-ai-ai-aiting” Now, another thought comes in my head when I hear that word.
This last weekend we looked at the second coming of Jesus. In preparing for the message, I read how the New Testament church “eagerly awaited” for Jesus’ return. The original language for that phrase is a picturesque view of standing on your tiptoes in anticipation of what is to come. It reminds me of the little one waiting for her parents to return. She’s standing on her tiptoes so she can press her face against the glass watching for the first sight of them. That’s “eagerly awaiting”, and that is what we are to do – eagerly await Jesus’ return.
For every one time the Bible speaks of Jesus’ first coming we can find 8 passages that talk about his second coming. God wants us to know about Jesus’ return. He wants us not to be confused about it, and he wants us to be prepared for it. Because Jesus will return, we eagerly await and prepare for something bigger and better than this world can offer.
In John 13 Jesus is sharing with his disciples in the Upper Room. He lets them know that in a little while he will be leaving them and where he was going, they could not go. This troubled the disciples. They had given up everything to follow him. They knew that Jesus was the only one with words of eternal life. So, when Jesus tells them he is leaving them, they can’t help but be upset. In John 14 Jesus reassures them and gives the promise that he will return and take them to be with him forever. They hung to this promise always looking for His return.
The longing that they had for Jesus’ return stemmed from the time they had spent with him before he left. They had built a deep relationship with Jesus, and that is why they longed to be with him again. We have been offered the same friendship with Jesus. Though we can’t be with him in person, we can grow in relationship with him through his word, through prayer, and encountering him through worship. The closer we grow in this relationship; the more we will experience his love. Scripture says that now we see through a glass dimly. No matter how close we get to God in this life, we still will only “see” him dimly. But wait. Anticipate. There is coming a time when we will see him “face to face”. This world is only a shadow of what it will be like when we are in his presence; in the throne room of God; in front of his face. The closer we get to him on this side of eternity; the more we will long to see his appearing and be with him in eternity. That will be an experience that is bigger and better than this world can offer.
Until then we prepare for his return. Bill Johnson said, “Jesus did not give us power and authority so we could sit in a pew and wait for the rapture.” We prepare by fulfilling God’s purposes for us in making disciples. We are given the amazing privilege of representing Jesus to others and introducing them to the Father who desires relationship with them so that they too will see him “face to face”. The Apostle Paul tells the Thessalonian believers he had discipled about what will bring him joy at the 2nd coming of Jesus. “For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy.” (1 Thess 2: 19-20)