Saturday, May 21, 2011
Missing the Point
If you're anything like me then you've already had your fill of all the hype concerning Harold Camping's latest prediction that today--yes, today--at 6 pm the Son of God will return in power to rapture the faithful (but not those of us who worship God in the church) and initiate a terrible period of tribulation. You've also probably read several articles, blog posts (don't you love these know-it-all blogger types, lol), and watched your fill of this craze on the news.
I plan on preaching on this subject tomorrow at our church. But, I felt like I wanted to contribute a little bit to the discussion in this format today. The reason being is because I haven't heard anyone else really focusing on this point...
What IF Jesus does come back today?
Let me be clear: If Jesus comes back today it will not be because Harold Camping predicted it. I don't believe for a second that even the world's best engineer or mathematician--which, by the way, Camping is not--has any greater shot at "cracking the Bible code" than the rest of us. As a matter of fact, I reject any notion that there is a "hidden code" in the Bible that someone might purposefully or accidently crack.
But here's my problem: The same verse that everyone is running to to point out why today is not "the Day", is the very same verse which reminds us that today could very well be "the Day"! Matthew 24:36 says, "But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only" (ESV). A little later in the passage Jesus says, "Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming" (24:42). Here's what I'm struggling with: Isn't Jesus calling his hearers to prepare themselves? Yet, from all that I'm hearing, people are citing this verse (and the many others like it) in order to prove that Camping is wrong. Again, I believe that Camping is dead wrong about this. But, my problem is that this isn't the bigger point!
I agree with those who feel strongly that what Harold Camping is doing is problematic, misguided, and another damaging incident to the "public perception" of those who go by the name "Christian". It is tragic that hundreds of people are buying this guy's false prediction (again) and are selling their possessions and taking other radical steps to prepare for their upward journey. It is equally tragic though that there millions of people in our world who scoff at the idea that Jesus Christ might actually come back as he said he would.
The Bible says that Jesus is coming again and we aren't to worry about knowing when, rather our focus is to be prepared for His return. 2 Corinthians 6:2 states, "Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation." The Bible tells us that our preparation has less to do with our knowledge about certain events and more to do with our purity, faithfulness, and love for God and others (Titus 2:11-14, 2 Peter 3:11ff).
Here's a crazy perspective on this: Why aren't we as motivated by our belief that Christ could come today (based on Matt. 24:36)? Why are we so comfortable with this "foreign land"? Why are we not out compelling others to receive God's love and salvation through Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:11ff)?
Let me put it this way, I do plan on preaching tomorrow but I will be infinitely more happy if I find myself face-to-face with my Lord and Savior. Acts 4:12 says, "And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." That name is not Camping, it is Jesus Christ!
The really important point in all this, at least to me, is that not only is Jesus coming back, but he could be coming back today.
Are you ready? If not, look up Romans 10:9-10 in the New Testament and call on the name of the Lord.