One dark night in a second-story room in Jerusalem, Jesus ate His “last supper” with His disciples. There, He revealed the startling truth that His death was only hours away. The eleven must have wanted to stop their ears from hearing Him say, “I’m going to leave you. I’m going back to My Father.”
Heaven, our eternal destiny, is real. It isn’t a figment of our imagination or a state of mind; it’s a reality. Heaven is a literal place that Jesus is preparing for His own. He says so in John 14:3! He says, “I will come again and receive you to Myself.” That’s a direct promise from His lips. This is also the first mention of the rapture these disciples had ever heard.
This kind of teaching must have stunned the disciples. They had anticipated the immediate establishment of Jesus’s earthly kingdom. They expected Jesus to rule as the King of kings and Lord of lords in Jerusalem before the end of their generation. They envisioned themselves as high-ranking rulers in His royal court. They thought, with great delight, that they’d witness the overthrow of Rome, Israel’s cruel oppressor. But Christ put all of that on hold and taught them that His present spiritual kingdom would be characterized by humility and love. Shortly thereafter, Jesus went to the cross. He died and was placed in a tomb. But three days later, He emerged in bodily form from the tomb, victorious over death.
We can reveal our readiness for Christ’s return in three ways.
- First, we walk by faith, not by what we see.
- Second, we live in peace, not panic, with regard to the future.
- Third, we rely on our hope in God’s promise for our future.
One day, Jesus will come back for us. If you’re spiritually ready to meet Him, the thought of His coming should be a comfort to you—bringing peace. If you’re not ready, the idea of His coming probably causes you a great deal of fear and uncertainty. The secret of eternal life is being sure you know the One who has the power to defeat the grave. His coming is sure―are you?
Pastor Chuck Swindoll has devoted his life to the accurate, practical teaching and application of God’s Word. Since 1998, he has served as the senior pastor-teacher of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, but Chuck’s listening audience extends beyond a local church body. As a leading program in Christian broadcasting since 1979, Insight for Living airs around the world. Chuck’s leadership as president and now chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary has helped prepare and equip a new generation for ministry.
More articles by Pastor Chuck Swindoll