“Things are getting so bad; Jesus is going to come back soon!” I’ve heard this numerous times from believers. In fact, I’ve said it myself. Last week my wife was treated out to lunch by a dentist and her staff to celebrate my wife’s completion of her externship and becoming a full-fledged dental assistant. As they enjoyed their lunch they began talking about how bad things are getting in the world. Most of them being Christians started talking about how Jesus must be about to return because things are getting so bad. There was kind of a sense of, “God’s gonna show those sinners a thing or two!”
It’s interesting that when Jesus spoke about His return He often compared it to a wedding. The groom, Jesus, and the bride, the church, are married at last. Yet, when most Christians talk about His return it sounds more like they’re waiting for the return of the cowboy Clint Eastwood played in “Unforgiven.” The measure of how soon He’ll return is based on how bad things get. When it’s dark as can be Jesus will come riding back, guns a blazing, and take down all those dirty rotten sinners. We’ll get the best seats in the house as we watch all them bad guys get their “come upins.”
But when I look at what Jesus said about His return I must say, I think Christians are gaging the proximity of His return by the wrong thing. It’s interesting that Jesus likens His return to a groom coming to get His bride for their wedding. Well, what is the main characteristic of a couple that is engaged? They are deeply in love with each other! So much so that they can no longer stand being a part. They’ve got to be together as one.
What is the bride like before the wedding? She is very excited. She is counting the days, hours, and seconds until she’ll be married. This is the biggest day in her life. She and her fiancé are seen together making plans, holding hands, sneaking in a kiss, and sharing their dreams. She can’t wait for her wedding.
This is why Jesus will return, for a church that is so in love with Him that they simply can’t stand being a part for one more second. He’s returning for a church that looks and behaves like a bride just before her wedding. Jesus will be coming back because He and His church are deeply in love and ready to get married.
Many Christians behave like women who only want to get married to get away from their stinking families or move out of their stinking neighborhoods. They’re not in love with the guy they’re going to marry. He’s just their ticket out. Let me ask you, would a sane man want to marry a woman like that? She doesn’t love him for who he is. She doesn’t even really know him! What kind of marriage would they even have?
Believers have been looking the wrong direction for Christ’s return. The world is dark and it always will be. And I’m sure it will just get darker. But that isn’t what Jesus is looking at any more than a groom watches the six o’clock news to determine when he’s going to get married. He looks at the woman he loves! When they’re both ready the wedding date is set, the plans are made, and the two get married.
Jesus is looking at us, not the darkness! He’s coming back because He wants to get married. He’ll come back when His bride wants to get married too and she has made herself ready.