by Tad Lindley
They knew Jesus was coming. His people were watching and waiting. They were expecting him to ride in with trumpets blaring. It had been prophesied from way back that the Messiah would come and save his people. They thought that he would walk right up to the Roman governor’s mansion, kick down the door, put his foot on the neck of the governor and say, “I’m the Messiah. I’ve come to have revival. Now pack up your putrid pig-eating Gentile army and get out of my country!” That never happened.
Instead hardly anyone noticed
It’s time that we face the fact. When Jesus came the first time it was by stealth. Sure the shepherds told a lot of folks about it, but it really couldn’t have been taken seriously. Otherwise King Herod would have killed every male baby for miles. What we learn later in John 8:41 is that people instead viewed this baby born in a cave (used to stable animals) as an illegitimate child. The only people beside Joseph and Mary that fully understood what had transpired were the handful of shepherds, an old man, Simeon (Luke 2:25-35), and an old prophetess, Anna (Luke 2:36-38). By the time the wise men got there, as much as two years had passed. Jesus was a young child living in a house (Matthew 2:1-12).
Richness disguised in rags
When we think about the God of heaven becoming flesh and dwelling among us (John 1:14), it seems odd that almost nobody noticed. Think about it for a moment: the very one who spoke the words, “Let there be light,” drew his first human breath in a stable. The one out of whose mouth came the sun, moon, and stars, gave his first human utterances as he lay in a feeding trough. By him all things were created that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him and for him (Colossians 1:16). The greatness of Almighty God crossed the border from majesty to humanity, and the world just kept right on going for the next thirty years as if nothing had happened. Then in three years, the Lord completed his mission and slipped back into glory. In spite of the power of his preaching and the might of his miracles, many still did not recognize Jesus for who he is.
Nobody will miss the second coming
The first time the Messiah crossed the border it was hush-hush. This time there will be no place on earth that does not know about it. It is the moment that the whole creation groans and travails for (Romans 8:22). To be unaware the second coming of the Lord a person would have to be unable to see, be unable to hear, and be unable to be saved. It will be awesome. For the Lord himself shall descend with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord (I Thessalonians 4:16-17). Jesus painted this picture for us: For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be…And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with great power and glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other (Matthew 24:27, 30-31). As the angels gather the elect, shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken and the other left (Matthew 24:40-41). The ones that are taken will be caught up with Jesus.
When the saints come marching in
Then Jesus will continue his descent on a white horse (Revelation 19:11-14). He will be followed by ten thousands of his saints (Jude 14). His feet shall stand in that day on the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4). The border patrol will be gathered together against Jerusalem in that day as the armies of the Anti-Christ attempt to prevent Jesus from crossing from heaven to earth (14:2). When the smoke clears Jesus will rise up and rule the earth for 1,000 years of peace.
When Jesus crosses the border again everybody on earth will see it and hear it. Will you be ready for it?
Tad Lindley is a minster at the Bethel United Pentecostal Church.