“I have told you these things, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have trouble; but cheer up! I have overcome the world.”
Jesus Christ knew that there would be much trouble in the world He was leaving His disciples. Matthew 24, Mark 13, John 16, Luke 21 all talk of a time when there will be false Christs and false prophets, wars and rumors of wars, nations and kingdoms rising against each other, famines, plagues, and earthquakes in various places. Jesus called them "birth pains."
He also talked about His followers being hated by all because of Him and then arrested and handed over to be punished and put to death. Many will betray and hate each other, and because many people will stray from God’s laws, their love will grow cold.
Sounds like He was describing our situation today, right?
Jesus also promised that He will come back for us one day. Just take a look at Revelation 1:7, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, Revelation 22:12-13, Acts 1:11, Matthew 16:27, Matthew 24:27-30, Hebrews 9:28, John 14:1-3. These are just some of the verses that talk about Jesus’ impending return.
Matthew 24 gives a clear outline of the events that will lead to Jesus’ return. First, there will be birth pains as described earlier and then the gospel, Jesus’ message of God’s love and salvation, will be proclaimed to all nations and then the end will come.
A lengthy description of a period of great tribulation will happen next. In the midst of this unfathomable hardship that the world has ever known, God will extend His grace even more by shortening those days. After that distressful period, the heavens will show unusual phenomenon and then Jesus Christ in all His glory will come down from the clouds and take us, His followers, God’s children, home to the Father.
In the meantime, what are we supposed to do?
Right before He was lifted into the heavens, Jesus gave a last commandment, a commission if you will, to all his disciples and followers. He said to go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. We are to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all that He had commanded us.
Two thousand years after Jesus gave that command, 42.5% of the current world population of 7.8 billion have yet to hear the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Almost all the unreached people come from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East or what is known as the 10/40 Window.
Curiously, many in traditionally Christian nations have also become unreached as increasing liberal and socialist beliefs are more widely accepted while the gospel is rejected or ridiculed. Migrants to Christian nations coming from the 10/40 Window also become unreached as they are left largely unnoticed in their new home countries.
As followers of Christ, we are all entrusted to share the gospel, which means not just the ministers or missionaries. In this time of lockdowns, we have been given an opportunity to share the gospel in a new way, through social media and messenger services. We may not be able to see our family and friends face to face but we can encourage them through our messages of hope, love, peace, strength, and inspiration through PMs and DMs we send, posts, and videos we upload, and video calls we hold. Emails, text messages, and phone calls are still effective in letting them know that we are thinking of them and praying for their wellbeing.
The apostle Paul and James also encouraged us to pray for one another. We are also called to pray for our leaders and all who are in high positions so that we may "lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way." This makes sense because when we pray to the Lord for the wellbeing of our city or country and our leaders, we, the citizens will be the ones who will benefit from it.
Another corporate commandment in the Bible was the first ever made by God in Genesis 1:28:
God blessed them. God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Though the earth is subject to us, it is also our responsibility to take care of it and all the creatures living in it. We have been scattered around the world to play a part (several parts for some) and accomplish tasks.
Student, employee, parent, grandparent, wife, mother, husband, father, sister, brother, boss, business owner, builder, artist, social media influencer, athlete, banker, soldier, leader, civil servant, minister, etc. – no matter what role we play, there are corresponding good works waiting to be fulfilled. All of the good works were specially prepared by God for us. He did that so that all we have to do is walk in them.
"How am I supposed to know that?" you may ask.
It begins with having a relationship with God by confessing with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believing in your heart that God raised Him from the dead. We nurture that relationship by devoting time getting to know God.
God speaks through His word, the Bible. It contains all His commandments, promises, warnings, prophecies, sayings, advice, and encouragement. The Bible also records the works of God spanning 4,000 years.
Praise and worship also draw Him in as seen here: "But you are holy, you who inhabit the praises of Israel." Psalm 22:3
Jesus commanded us to spend time with Him so that He can spend time with us. The more time you spend with Him, the deeper you’ll know and understand His heart. He reveals the missions He wants you to accomplish during your "alone" moments,.
Hope in a time of fear
While uncertainty abounds everywhere today, we can be rest assured that God has our backs. Jesus said the words at the beginning of this post (John 16:33, WEB) because He wants us to know that He’s got this. He also implored us to endure to the end so that we will be saved.
There will be lots more trouble for sure, but our Lord and Savior already overcame them all. It’s done. What remains is to fulfill His commandments and accomplish what He set out before us.
In the meantime, be encouraged by some of God’s commands and promises* below. Know that as you work to fulfill His commands, the time for His return draws nearer.
In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
You will keep whoever’s mind is steadfast in perfect peace, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you fall into various temptations, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. James 1:2-3
Be strong and courageous. Don’t be afraid or scared of them; for Yahweh your God himself is who goes with you. He will not fail you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6
Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually! 1 Chronicles 16:11, ESV
The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace. Psalm 29:11
For you need endurance so that, having done the will of God, you may receive the promise. Hebrews 10:36
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, in the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you won’t fulfill the lust of the flesh. Galatians 5:16
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
#cheerup #Jesusovercametheworld #hope #greatgrace #shortenthedays #moretroublesmoregrace #greatcommission #whatisyourmission #fuflfillthetask #prayforcountry #prayforleaders #prayforoneanother #spendtimewithGod #alonetimewithGod
*All scriptures are from the World English Bible unless otherwise mentioned.