I read the results of a survey recently that revealed two things:
- “36% of Americans believe the severity of natural disasters reveal we are close to Jesus’ second coming and the end of the world.”
- “15% of Americans believe the world will end, as predicted in the Biblical book of Revelation, in their lifetime.”
Hurricanes, earthquakes and other fearful natural disasters can make some think that God’s hand of judgment is already in action. Death and destruction from weather events and upheaval under the earth may seem to be more prevalent than any time in recent memory.
Others look at what seems to be an increase in military conflict as a sign that the end of the world is near. Certainly, we’ve had a lot of war in the last two decades.
All of these events can cause an increase in fear and anxiety. Jesus’ words from over 2,000 years ago seem to fit today’s world.
BREAKING NEWS IN JESUS’ DAY
Later, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives. His disciples came to him privately and said, “Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will signal your return and the end of the world?” Jesus told them, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come. – Matthew 24:3-8 (NLT)
So, what’s the deal? Is Jesus on the threshold of returning to the earth? Whether He is or not, Jesus gave us two assignments that are still relevant today.
ASSIGNMENT NO. 1
Just before Jesus ascended bodily back up to heaven, He said this:
And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. – Mark 16:15 (NLT)
Jesus literally said to “go into your world” and tell people the “Good News.” Your world is any place where you interact with people.
The Good News you should be telling people is that:
- Jesus can free you from the punishment and guilt you deserve for your sin.
- You can experience the peace of God instead of confusion and turmoil.
- You can receive God’s wisdom and direction for your life.
ASSIGNMENT NO. 2
Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,…” – Matthew 28:18-19 (NLT)
Jesus also said to make disciples of nations or “people groups.” Those groups include the people in your country. A disciple is a “disciplined learner.” Are you one of those? The Bible is God’s revelation of Himself to mankind. Do you read the Bible regularly? Do you attend a church regularly? Are you helping someone else become a disciple as Jesus commanded?
KEEP YOUR FOCUS
Hearing about a myriad of wars and horrible weather disasters can paralyze a person with fear. Regardless of whether His return is imminent or a long time away, we need to keep doing those two things until He comes back.
Does this help you re-focus on what is truly important to Jesus?