Thursday, November 29, 2007

When Will Jesus Come?

We all know the most famous prayer of the Bible, the Lord’s Prayer. But do you know what the last prayer of the Bible is? If you don’t know, it’s easy to find because it’s at the very end of the Bible: “Come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20). This is the response of the apostle John—and the entire Church—to Jesus’ words Himself, “Surely I am coming soon” (Revelation 22:19).

These words might be familiar to us as the opening words of the “common table prayer”: “Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest, and let these gifts to us be blessed. Amen.”

The Lord’s Prayer is the preeminent prayer of the Christian Church. But the last prayer of the Bible is not a bad one to keep in mind in our daily life. It is even found in the Lord’s Prayer as the second petition (“Thy kingdom come”).

This prayer really captures the Work of God in bringing salvation to human beings. He does it by bringing Himself to people. Jesus, who is God, comes to earth. He comes as a baby/man. He comes to His people in His Holy Supper. He comes to His people in the Gospel, spoken and proclaimed. And He will come again in glory on the Last Day.

The answer to the question “When will Jesus come?” is really a “now/not yet” answer. When it’s asked when Jesus will come again on the Last Day, the answer is that we don’t know, but it’s not yet. But when the question is asked, when does God come to save His people, the answer is that He has already come and continually comes to His people.

God has come to you in your Baptism. He comes to you at His altar when you receive His Body and Blood. He comes to you when you hear that word of forgiveness spoken to you by His servant in the absolution. He comes to you when you hear the Gospel proclaimed to you in all its comfort.

“Am I a God who is near,” declares the LORD, “And not a God far off?” (Jeremiah 23:23). That’s why He has given us the prayer He has given us. We pray to Him to come to us because He has promised to come to us.

We are weak. We need His help. “But You, O Lord, do not be far off! O You my help, come quickly to my aid!” (Psalm 22:19). He has come to us in our need. He comes to bring help:

“I bring near My righteousness; it is not far off, and My salvation will not delay; I will put salvation in Zion, for Israel My glory.” (Isaiah 46:13)

We know Christ will come again in glory because He has been faithful to His promises. He has always come to His people. He will come again.

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