Angels said Jesus would return from heaven “in the same way” as the disciples had seen Him go into heaven. Other Bible translations say He will come back, “in like manner.” The second event will resemble the first. But make no mistake. Jesus’ second coming will not be like His first coming; there will be no baby, no shepherds, no star, and no wise men from the East. Jesus’ second coming will be more like His first going!
Luke has expanded his brief gospel account (Lk. 24:48-52) in Acts 1:6-12. It is significant that both accounts chronologically follow Jesus’ sending His disciples out to be witnesses in the world. He wanted His followers to live and speak for Him, confident that He was about to come back. Since we are His witnesses today, how should we think of His return? I offer eight suggestions.
1. Jesus returned to heaven as God and He will come back as God. As Jesus, God lived in our world, but most did not recognize Him. No one will mistake Him or avoid Him when He returns.
2. Jesus went back to heaven as a man and He will arrive here again as a man. He has never left the human flesh He took on in Bethlehem, and He never will.
3. The crucified Jesus went away, and when He returns He will still have the nail prints in His hands. His purpose and victory are displayed by these scars.
4. Jesus rose to a new life after His death. He lives in heaven today, easily able to return at any moment.
5. Jesus went glorified into His heavenly home. He never sinned and fell short of the glory of God. He was and is God in all His glorious fullness. His resurrection revealed His somewhat hidden self.
6. Jesus left earth unexpectedly and His return will be just as unpredictable. People live as if tomorrow will be just another day. That will not always be so.
7. Jesus went suddenly from His disciples. He will come back “in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye” (1 Cor. 15:52). In a generation of “instant coffee” and “instant TV replays,” this will be the instant that ends all other instants.
8. Jesus went visibly. Only the disciples saw Him leave and be accepted into heaven. Every living human will focus on Him at His return. And no one will escape His gaze. He will capture everyone’s attention.
The uppermost thought in our minds, no matter what else we are doing, ought to be: Our Lord Jesus Christ will certainly come back. And it could possibly be today. He said, “Yes, I am coming soon!” Our response should be, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22:20).
By Colin Salter
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org