Look Up! The personalized license plate on the car in front of me caught my eye. Look up! Two simple words right out of Luke’s Gospel. Jesus was reminding His followers to pay close attention to the signs of the times. “So when all these things begin to happen,” He explained to them, “stand and look up, for your salvation is near!” (Luke 21:28 NLT).
Today is Easter, a time when believers all over the world celebrate a risen Savior. The Resurrection of Jesus changed everything. But there’s more to the story. He is coming back. How fitting that Easter Sunday is the final day of our 21 Day Watch. We’ve been watching for signs of God through His Word and His work all around us. And we’ve been alert to His perspective of world events—God’s big picture.
Jesus also wants us to be watching for His return. But I’ve noticed that some people become so fascinated with the “end times” that they retreat into a form of spiritual escapism. Is this the best we can hope for? Clinging by a thread of sanity while we wait for Jesus to rescue us from this messy world? Surely we were made for more.
What does it look like to be ready for Jesus’s return? I like Paul’s instructions to the church in 1 Peter. These believers were fiercely persecuted. They were always in danger of getting killed so they had plenty to worry about. Early Christians lived in continual readiness for Jesus’s soon return. So Paul reminds them to live with the end in mind. But he doesn’t tell them to become obsessed with signs, retreat to a survivalist community, stockpile their goods or take up arms. He simply tells them to be ready by living as faithful believers:
The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms (1 Peter 4:7-10 NIV).
Dear friends, we are Easter People! We’re to remain alert and watchful so we can pray, for prayer helps us stay connected to God. We’re to love each other in community, forgiving one another, inviting others into our homes. We’re to serve each other and share God’s grace using the gifts and resources He’s given to us. We’re to share His Good News with the least and the lost at home and around the world.
We keep watch for Jesus’s return by being faithful. We remain ready by doing the same things we should be doing every day. We keep watch by doing God’s will. Then when Jesus comes, He’ll find us ready for His return.
Come soon, Lord Jesus. Keep us alert and watchful. And while we wait, may we be faithful to answer Your call to a hurting and broken world. Because of Easter!
May 11th, 2015 at 11:45 am
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May 13th, 2015 at 12:20 pm
Thank you for these words! I can get caught up in thinking these are the end times and just want to hide for what could come! This spoke such truth! Being alert means staying faithful. Staying faithful means perusing God , resting in him, and letting That flow out in my life, choices, and interactions with others. I have recently been pondering this verse. “Being alert and sober minded.” It doesn’t mean “being alert and run and hide.” Being faithful should help me have a calm mind while trusting in him.