The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.
Jesus fully expected the kingdom of God to come at any time. What is the kingdom of God? It is the time when God will directly reign over the earth through his appointed king and bring peace and justice to all that is in the kingdom. Jesus was expecting this to happen anytime, and everything he did was in accordance to that soon coming: He chose out twelve to rule over the twelve tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28). He healed and cast out demons to indicate God’s soon-coming redemption (Matthew 12:28). He preached repentance so that many might be ready for the kingdom (Luke 13:6-9). And he was in a hurry because he knew that it would come soon! (Matthew 10:23)
Mark 13:24-27; 33-37
They will see THE SON OF MAN COMING IN CLOUDS with great power and glory. And then He will send forth the angels, and will gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven...Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time will come.
Jesus is letting us know—we need to look for the coming of the Son of Man. At this time God’s kingdom will be in full force and all the powers of heaven and earth will be judged. God’s people will be gathered to one place in order to rule and to live in God’s peace. Jesus tells us two things about this time—first of all, we don’t know when it will come. It could be today, it could be in a thousand years—we don’t know. No matter what anyone says, we still don’t know. Second, we need to be ready, prepared for the event to come. The fact that we don’t know when it is just means that we need more preparation—it could be at any time, so we must be ready at any time!
Our Father in heaven, may your name be sanctified. May your kingdom come, may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
Jesus tells us to pray daily a prayer inviting God to clean up the earth. We want God’s reputation to be purified—this will only happen when God gathers his people. We want God’s kingdom to come—this will only happen when Jesus comes to earth to establish the kingdom finally. We want God’s will to be done—this will only happen when God establishes his Spirit in people’s hearts. We want God’s provision—which will only be guaranteed in God’s kingdom. We want forgiveness, we want deliverance from trials—these will only finally occur on the final day. This prayer is our expectation, our hope and our deliverance.
Will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them?I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?
Jesus is telling us to pray for justice in a manner that we feel that we might be bothering God. We need to bug him again and again for his justice and righteousness to come. And we need to recognize that justice will come only when Jesus returns.
II Peter 3:1-15
The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God.
Many will claim that the kingdom will never come. That it has been so long and Jesus hasn’t returned, so he never will. All we know is that God proves faithful when doubters and scoffers all prove faithless. We will continue to abide in Jesus and to trust in him. The main reason that God hasn’t returned yet is because he is patient with sinners and is waiting for all who will come to repentance. Because he is coming, though, we need to make sure that we are pure before him.
The Anabaptists (early Mennonites) were focused on obeying Jesus—not because it was a good, moral life to live, but because they were confident that Jesus was coming soon. And it was true, there were many signs to indicate that Jesus’ coming was soon. There was a world-wide oppression of God’s people, headed up by a world-wide ruler. And so they were motivated to teach the word of Jesus and encourage everyone to repent from their evil and focus on the Lord.
Living It Out
· The anytime arrival of the kingdom of God is not just a doctrine, but a daily hope and expectation.
· Get a sense of urgency! Note how many things are wrong and could be improved by God directly ruling the earth through Jesus.
· Be Ready! Think what you would change if Jesus were to return today. Then make those changes necessary! Repent of what you need to repent of now. Love those who need love today. Live as if this world won't make it another day
· Get your life straightened out! Is there anything that Jesus would be displeased about your life? Get it right, before you can't change it anymore.
· Tell others of God’s soon return! It is easy for us to live our lives as if everything will continue on as it always has been. Remind others that the world can change at any point.
· Pray for God’s kingdom to come! As Jesus taught us, ask God to come and change the earth, both in the Lord's prayer and in prayer for others.
· Bug God for justice! God's return is about him standing for the innocent and helpless. Pray that He do what He must to establish justice on earth.