“People will be terrified at what they see coming upon the earth, for the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on a cloud with power and great glory. So when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near!”
Then he gave them this illustration: “Notice the fig tree, or any other tree. When the leaves come out, you know without being told that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things taking place, you can know that the Kingdom of God is near. I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.
“Watch out! Don’t let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware, like a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth. Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man.”
Jesus told the disciples to keep a constant watch for his return. He did not leave his disciples unprepared for the difficult years ahead. He warned them about false messiahs, natural disasters, and persecutions; however, he assured the disciples that he would be with them to protect them and make his kingdom known through them. In the end, Jesus promised that he would return in power and glory to save them. Jesus’ warnings and promises to his disciples also apply to us as we look forward to his return.
The picture of the coming persecutions and natural disasters is gloomy, but ultimately it is a cause not for worry but for great joy. We have two wonderful promises to help us as we suffer: God will always be with us (Matthew 28:20), and he will one day rescue us and give us eternal life (Revelation 21:1-4). As believers see these events happening, they will know that the return of their Messiah is near, and they can look forward to his reign of justice and peace.
Although over two thousand years have passed since Jesus spoke these words, their truth remains: He is coming again, and we need to watch and be spiritually fit. This means working faithfully at the tasks God has given us. What tasks has God given you? If you aren’t sure, prayerfully ask for guidance.