Summary: The second coming of Christ from heaven will be personal, visible and glorious. It is a blessed hope for which we should constantly watch and pray. It will be as sudden and unannounced as His ascension was.
In the gospels and the Book of Acts we read that Jesus remained on earth for 40 days after resurrection. During that time, He was seen by over 500 people. Then He led his Disciples out to the Mount of Olives and, and as they watched, He ascended up into Heaven. (Luke 24: 50). Luke is also the author of the Book of Acts. While he is repeating the story, he writes about two promises. One was the promise of the Holy Spirt and they are to wait for “the promise of the Father.” The other promise was about the return of Jesus. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was taken up into the clouds, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11). They were to wait for the return of the same Jesus.
This same Jesus who was born in the manger, grew up in Nazareth and healed the sick and raised the dead will return. He is the same Jesus whom they followed and witnessed teaching in the synagogue He is the same Jesus who turned water into wine, the same Jesus who healed the sick and helped the people, the same Jesus who saw Zachaeus on a tree and went to stay with him in his house. He is the same Jesus who raised Lazarus and the daughter of Jairus from death. They were witnesses to all these events. At his time of ascension, they were reminded that this Jesus, the same eternal saviour who is the same yesterday, and today, and forever, will not leave you alone. He will come to you in the midst of your worries and fears and will give you peace.
They have seen this Jesus being taken through the streets of Jerusalem, beaten and humiliated carrying a cross. They saw him nailed up on the cross. They saw him praying on the cross for those who were oppressing him. He forgave the thief of on the cross even at the time of his death. They saw him buried in the tomb, but rose on the third day. They are now seeing Him taken up into heaven.
This same Jesus appeared to you and many in the midst of our daily struggles, frustrated and afraid and gave you life and purpose. When He returns bodily again, He will raise the dead in Christ from their graves (1 Thessalonians 4:16). They will be raised immortal and incorruptible with a glorified body just as Jesus had when He rose on Easter morning. The believers who are living will be raptured off the face of the earth (1 Thessalonians 4:17). Our mortal bodies will put on immorality so that we will never die. Jesus will “transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body” (Philippians 3:21). By death and resurrection, Christ defeated sin and death. He ascended to the right hand of God to come again and remove all evil from this world. He will establish a kingdom of peace and love. That is the hope of our fallen world.
Outside the Shibuya train station in Tokyo is a statue commemorating an Akita dog named Hachiko. The dog is remembered for unusual faithfulness to his owner, a university professor who commuted from the station daily. The dog accompanied him on his walk there in the morning and came back to meet him every afternoon just as his train arrived. One day the professor didn’t return to the station; sadly, he had died at work. But for the rest of his life—more than nine years—Hachiko showed up at the same time as the afternoon train arrived. Day after day, regardless of weather, snow or shine, the dog waited faithfully for his master’s return. Unlike Hachiko's master who was dead, our Master is the living Jesus.
We are asked to be faithful in waiting for the Master’s return. Unlike Hachiko’s master who died, we know that our Master, the risen Lord Jesus is alive. Paul calls it the enduring hope when he commended the churc hin Thessalonica about their faithfulness, citing their “work produced by faith,” “labor prompted by love,” and “endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 1:3). Despite harsh opposition, they left their old ways “to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven”.
Jesus Christ is surely coming again. This is not a minor part of the Bible. It is a major part of the Bible. It is not incidental; it is fundamental to the Christian faith. The Bible refers to His coming to this earth more than baptism or communion. Baptism is mentioned twenty times in the Bible. Repentance is mentioned seventy times and the new birth is mentioned nine times, but the second coming of Christ is mentioned three hundred eighteen times in the New Testament alone. There are more references in the Old Testament as well.