I will resist the easy jokes about the rapture that didn’t occur last weekend–you know, where I say how I expected you to be here on Monday regardless of what happened on Saturday–and instead go in a more helpful, pastoral direction. I think that Christians were right to scoff at Camping’s prediction, but it bothered me that sometimes our scoffing was in the same key as those who don’t know Jesus. So this morning I wrote this “Our Daily Journey” entry for my own benefit, and maybe it will help you as well (assuming you’re still here).
the return of the King
read > 2 Peter 3:3-18
Harold Camping received a lot of attention for declaring that Judgment Day would begin around dinner time on May 21, 2011. Few people believed him—even his receptionist admitted that “no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen” (Matthew 24:36)—and generally his prediction was panned by everyone. The secular world had much fun at Camping’s expense, planning apocalyptic survival parties and replaying R.E.M.’s rock song, “It’s the end of the world as we know it (and I feel fine).” Even those who interviewed him didn’t take him seriously. One anchor closed her segment on Camping with a knowing smirk, “Let’s hope he’s wrong.”
That’s where all who love Jesus must disagree. We are the first to say that Camping’s aim and method were wrong. No one can predict when Jesus will return, and Camping’s convoluted and implausible argument for May 21, 2011 was not particularly promising. We were right to declare that Camping was wrong, but we also should have wished that he wasn’t.
Christians should feel a twinge of sadness every night when we turn in to bed, for we have lived another day without the return of our King. The Lord’s Prayer includes the line, “May your Kingdom come soon” (Luke 11:2). As far-fetched as Camping’s prediction was, his spectacular miss should prompt us to reassess our deepest longings. Will we only scoff at his delusion, or will we also remember that we should want our Lord to return?
Perhaps we aren’t excited for Jesus’ return because we’re too easily pleased with the present. As one preacher said, “It’s hard to pray, ‘Thy kingdom come,’ when your kingdom has had a good year.” Thank God for the good life you presently enjoy, but don’t allow his current blessings to distract you from the Christian’s prayer: “Our Lord, come!” (1 Corinthians 16:22).