7 The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. 8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
The End Is Nigh
Sandwich boards anyone? Do you remember the people walking the streets with ‘The End of The World is Nigh!’? They seem to be less prevalent these days. We tend to think of them as kooks: little old men with long beards who have lost some of their marbles. Was the apostle Peter one of them? Was he a deluded, sad man who was about to die expecting Jesus to come back right then? Some people think he was, but it won’t surprise you to know that I don’t. The criteria for Jesus’ return are open enough that he could come back at any moment. It is the expectation that he could come back that keeps us looking expectantly at the skies. This imminence of Jesus’ return is talked of in language like ‘he is near’, but it does not mean that the time is now. It means more that he is close; waiting in the wings.
In light of Jesus’ waiting in the wings, we should live with a sense that it would take very little for him to return. What do you want to be found doing when Jesus comes back? We have been left to steward the outpouring of God’s grace. We are ambassadors who go ahead of the royal return. If that is the case, there should be a measured gravity to our words. Then when Jesus returns he will receive the glory that he is due, because we have paved the way.
Jesus, I tend to think of the end times as increasingly hard to talk about meaningfully. Help me to live with the sense that you are near. At the Father’s command, you could return at any second. As I talk to you I see a connection between your return and the brevity of life. As I have lost a friend recently, and watched others struggle with sickness, I have thought that I should be more intentional about what years I have. As I think about your return, I have that same sense of urgency.
- What do you think Peter meant by ‘The end is near’?
- How does living in light of Jesus’ return cause Christians to live?
- Looking at the end of history, who receives the accolades?
- Whose agenda do you serve?
- If Jesus’ return is possible at any moment, how should you change your focus?