The first Christians all believed that Jesus will return to this world. He will end the power of the evil forces that now control this world. He will establish his rule over everyone and everything and his rule will never end. The first Christians believed that these things must happen soon.
By ‘soon’, they did not mean ‘immediately’. Christ will return soon, but it may not happen immediately. In the meantime, God has given important work for his people to do. Now is the time when people across the world can turn to God (2 Peter 3:9; 2 Corinthians 6:2). Now, God sends his people to declare his good news in every nation (Matthew 28:19-20). However, this opportunity cannot last for all time, because Christ will return, soon.
The word ‘soon’ shows that Christ’s promise to return is definite. God the Father has already decided when it will happen (Mark 13:32; Acts 1:7). The word ‘soon’ also shows that this is the next important event in God’s plan for the world. Peter told the first Christians that God’s plan must happen in God’s time. God is patient, because he is giving people the opportunity to trust him. For God, 1000 years is like just one day (2 Peter 3:8). So we are wrong to think that Christ is slow to return. God is always right; his opinion of time (and not ours) is therefore correct. So, Christ will come soon.
In Mark 13:32-37, Jesus explained what effect this fact should have upon people. He will return soon, at a time when people may not expect him. So, people must not be lazy and they must not neglect their relationship with God. Instead, they must be ready, because Jesus will come again, soon.
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© 2016, Keith Simons.