These must have been very confusing days for the disciples and the true believers in Jesus. The Messiah had come but He had not set up an earthly kingdom as many believed that He would do. Now, Jesus is telling His followers even worse news. “I will be with you only a little longer.” Why was He leaving and where could He be going? Looking back from our vantage point in history, we know where He was going and we understand why He had to leave. Few, if any, of the people present at that time understood that. Isn’t it wonderful news that Jesus has never made that statement to us? In fact, just the opposite is true. To us, He has said:
5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”——Hebrews 13: 5 (NKJV)
We have a companion that is closer than a brother. He not only leads us, He walks with us, He is our rearguard, and He abides inside us. Jesus is in us and we are in Jesus. What more could anyone ask?
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
For too many years, our country has been headed down a path that is leading us further and further from God. Over and over, we have seen and ignored the warning signs. God is calling this nation to repentance. The Bible shows us over and over that God keeps all of his promises, promises for good and His promises to discipline. God has blessed this country for centuries because we were His “light on a hill”, a beacon and an example for other nations to follow. But those times have come to an end. We are now a country in chaos because we have chosen to stray from the path of righteousness and follow after other gods. Gods of greed, violence, hate all because of our pride. Our unwillingness to admit when we are wrong and listen to reason. God is calling us saying “Come, let us reason together” and we are refusing to listen. He said the same thing to Israel and they refused to listen and they paid a huge price for their disobedience. If we continue to walk the path of disobedience, we too will pay a huge price. Only God can “Make America Great Again”. He is calling us to return to Him and be saved. Only in returning to Him and resting in Him will we be saved. Let us return to Him or we, like Israel, will be disciplined severely for our prideful disobedience.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
10 So this is what the Lord says to his people:“You love to wander far from me and do not restrain yourselves. Therefore, I will no longer accept you as my people. Now I will remember all your wickedness and will punish you for your sins.”
Just as God told the Israelites back then, He is saying the same thing to us today. We have wandered far away from God and His precepts and we refuse to return. God is not slack concerning His promises of blessing nor His promises of discipline. God is not confused but our political leaders are very confused. They are like the blind leading the blind. Every day we get farther and farther away from God and we have no remorse for our actions. God will not be mocked, we will reap what we have sown. Let us pray for our nation, pray fervently and continually until our leaders return to the God of our Fathers. Pray that God will raise up Godly men and women to lead this nation in paths of righteousness.
21 I need someone to mediate between God and me, as a person mediates between friends.
22 For soon I must go down that road from which I will never return. — Job 16:21,22 NLT
Here and in other verses in this book, it is as if Job gets a glimpse of the future and the plan that God has in place to redeem fallen man. Job realizes that it is useless for a man to argue with God. We need a mediator and God had a plan in place to provide one for us. We are certainly free to state our case in any situation. When we are speaking to God, we should always be as honest as both Job and David. They were not afraid to pour out their disappointments to God. They did not blame God. However, just as we do, they questioned why God allowed certain things to happen in the life of His children. But when we do this, we must realize that we are in the presence of the Almighty God. We can be bold but at the same time, we must be humble and ready to accept His answers. God listens carefully, but He does not negotiate. In the end, we, like Job and David, must come to the conclusion that God is God and He truly knows what is best for us. We all must go through the valleys and the dark nights. But the key thing for us to remember is that we are going through, we are not going to be there forever. For every valley, there are two mountains and for every dark night, there is light on both sides. As the McKameys sing, “the God on the mountain is still God in the valley and the God of the daytime is still God in the night”. Do not be discourage or dismayed, our God will never leave us alone and He will never forsake us.
9 “And the answer will be, ‘Because his people abandoned the Lord their God, who brought their ancestors out of Egypt, and they worshiped other gods instead and bowed down to them. That is why the Lord has brought all these disasters on them.’” — 1 Kings 9:9 NLT
God had fulfilled all of His promises and particularly those He had made to David and Solomon up to this point. God blessed David and allowed him to amass all the wealth that Solomon would need to build the temple. He had anointed David and then Solomon to be king over Israel. He gave Solomon peace from all of his enemies for the time it took to build the temple and his own palace. But the Creator of the universe knows the flesh. He knew that as time passed, the people would become complacent and return to their idol worship. So, even in this time of great celebration, God reminded them of what would happen if they abandoned Him and worshipped idols and honored created things as gods. When we forget God and when we no longer worship Him as the only true and living God, He allows things in our lives to remind us of Who He is. When God has blessed us, we must not become complacent and allow things or people to replace Him in our lives. We must continually take inventory of our attitudes and actions to be sure they are God-honoring. He is still the Creator of the universe, He is still the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. It is up to us to be sure He is sitting on the throne of our lives. If we forget and stray away, He will remind us of who He is and who we are. That’s the bad news. The good news is that He will coming looking for us and bring us home on His shoulders. When He has returned us to the fold, there will be a party in heaven.
1 After saying all these things, Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son so he can give glory back to you. 2 For you have given him authority over everyone. He gives eternal life to each one you have given him. 3 And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth. 4 I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. 5 Now, Father, bring me into the glory we shared before the world began—John 17:1-5 (NLT)
Jesus had given up all His glory when He left heaven to become our Redeemer. That mission was soon to be completed. He had not lost a single soul that the Father had given Him. (Yes, Judas was lost, but he obviously was never a true believer) Now, Jesus is asking His Father to bring Him back home to be returned to that glory. He will have accomplished everything that they had planned before the earth was formed. He, once again, tells us the way to eternal life is to know Himself and His Father, the only true God. Now, it is our turn to bring glory to the Father by living the same lifestyle that Jesus lived. 35 Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.—Matt. 9:35, 36 (NLT)
As we go, we should always be telling the Good News about the Kingdom, but there are those that Jesus puts in our path that He wants us to talk to about Him. Our lifestyle and actions should be such that people notice a difference between us and the world. If we allow the Holy Spirit that abides in us to do His work through us then we will produce the fruits of the Spirit and that will draw people to Jesus.
28 You heard me say to you, ‘I am going, but I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you should be happy that I am going back to the Father, because he is greater than I am. 29 I have told you this now, before it happens, so that when it happens, you will believe. 30 I will not talk with you much longer, because the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over me, 31 but the world must know that I love the Father, so I do exactly what the Father told me to do. “Come now, let us go.—John 14:28-31(NCV)
Jesus is telling the disciples and us that He must leave but He will return one day. If Jesus doesn’t go to the Father, then the Holy Spirit will not come to abide with us. Jesus knew and understood that the time was swiftly approaching when He would not be able to see and talk to all the people that needed to hear the Good News. But the Father already had a plan in place, His Spirit would come and abide in each of us, so that none of us would ever be alone again. The Holy Spirit will teach us, lead us and prepare us for the return of our soon coming King. Jesus is also telling the disciples and us that satan is not defeating Him, but still, He must do what He must do. It has been the plan since eternity that He would be the perfect, sacrificial Lamb that would redeem fallen man. The time was quickly approaching for Jesus to complete His mission here on earth. He needed to return to the Father because He had work to do in heaven. 24 But because Jesus lives forever, his priesthood lasts forever. 25 Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.—Hebrews 7:24, 25 (NLT)
7 Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. 8 You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near. 9 Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. For look—the Judge is standing at the door! 10 For examples of patience in suffering, dear brothers and sisters, look at the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.—James 5:7-10 (NLT)
God has never failed to fulfill a single promise that He has made. Jesus said that He would be coming back one day and so He will. We wait with eager expectation for that day to come and it is nearer than it has ever been. Will He come in our lifetime? We have no way of knowing and it doesn’t really matter. Waiting, in a Biblical sense, does not mean that we sit around and twiddle our thumbs. God has a plan and a purpose for each of us. We are to be redeeming the time while we are here on this earth. We do that by laboring in the harvest. Jesus said “the fields are white for harvest, but the laborers are few”. That doesn’t mean that we have to be pastors, ministers, preachers. missionaries, teachers, or involved full time in any Christian ministry. Our neighborhoods and our workplaces are just as much “fields white with harvest” as any foreign land. Work while you wait. If God hasn’t given you any new directions then keep laboring in the field that God has you in now. God will honor your faithfulness. Just like some of the old prophets, we may never see the results of our labors here on earth, but we can be sure that if we speak His Word, it is powerful and effective. 10 “The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry.
11 It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.—Isaiah 55:10, 11 (NLT)
1 Now, dear brothers and sisters, let us clarify some things about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and how we will be gathered to meet him. 2 Don’t be so easily shaken or alarmed by those who say that the day of the Lord has already begun. Don’t believe them, even if they claim to have had a spiritual vision, a revelation, or a letter supposedly from us. 3 Don’t be fooled by what they say. For that day will not come until there is a great rebellion against God and the man of lawlessness is revealed—the one who brings destruction. 4 He will exalt himself and defy everything that people call god and every object of worship. He will even sit in the temple of God, claiming that he himself is God. 5 Don’t you remember that I told you about all this when I was with you?–2 Thessalonians 2:1-5 (NLT)
The return of Jesus has probably been and still is the most debated subject in the history of Christendom. We cannot know for certain when that event will occur. Even Jesus told us that we would not know for sure, not even Jesus knew: “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.–Matt. 24:36 (NLT)
We can only know for sure that it hasn’t happened yet. In the above passage, Paul tells us of some events that must occur before the return of Jesus. Some have already occurred, but there are more to come. We have no need to chase after rumors of His return. When He returns in the eastern sky, everyone will know about it. Our concern is to stay ready at all times and spend our time telling others about Jesus and His love. Jesus will return at the very day, hour, minute and second that the Father has already chosen. We are to keep our lamps burning and filled with oil, so that we will be ready when He returns whether that be now or thousands of years from now.