Our Glorious Hope
This term at Youth we are discussing ‘Our Hope’ – the hope that we have as Christians because of Jesus’ return. It has led me to reflect on the question, what will happen exactly when Jesus’ returns?
You might think this is a somewhat irrelevant or unimportant topic, but the Bible actually talks often about what will happen when Jesus returns. While some of the imagery can be difficult to interpret, some key things stand out clearly:
- Jesus’ return will be unmissable
When Jesus came to earth the first time, 2,000 years ago, it was in the most inconspicuous way imaginable: as a baby, laid in an animal trough, who grew up to love the outcast and died without putting up a fight. But when he returns, it will be the opposite—he will return in glory.
Acts 1 tells us that when Jesus ascended into heaven, two angels appeared and said to his disciples, “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.” 1 Thessalonians 4 tells us that when Jesus returns it will be with the noise of shouting and trumpets, and all believers will be raised (even from the dead) to join him. It will not be something you can miss!
- Jesus’ return will bring unescapable judgement
When Jesus returns, every person will be called to account for their lives and actions. He will judge everyone—and since no-one is perfect, no-one will be able to pass that judgement on their own. However, everyone whose faith is in Christ, whose sins have been paid for by his blood, will be judged as innocent. Because he has already taken our place in judgement. Then, as Revelation 21 describes, those who trust in Christ will go on to eternal life, but those who have not will face an eternal death.
- Jesus’ return will bring complete transformation
When Jesus returns, he will fully recreate the world, without sin or the effects of sin. “There will be no more death, or mourning, or crying, or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Rev. 21:4). And not only will the physical world will be remade, but we ourselves will be transformed—physically and spiritually. Jesus will “transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” (Phil. 3:21) We will not become ‘Jesus clones’, completely identical, but rather we will be fully remade the way that God intended us to be, unique individuals who reflect God our maker, without the brokenness we experience in these present bodies.
In short, Jesus will bring the work he started when he first came to a sudden and complete conclusion—the return of the Kingdom of God to earth finally and fully.
What a glorious hope we have!