It’s difficult to describe what it was like accepting Jesus Christ and then attending Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, Calif., during what has become known as the “Jesus Movement.” It was revival: It seemed as though everyone was either a follower of Jesus or becoming one. The Holy Spirit was bringing a generation into the kingdom of God, and a culture was being transformed.
At the heart of this revival was an expectation and a hope, a blessed hope that Jesus was coming again soon and that we all needed to be ready. We cried out “Maranatha”—“O Lord, come!” (1 Cor. 16:22, NKJV) and sang of His soon return.
I’m now 41 years from my spiritual birthday. Some might ask, “Where is His return?” The apostle Peter predicted that, with the continuation of time, some would wonder about and mockingly question the return of Jesus:
… scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation. … But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Pet. 3:3-4,8-9, NKJV).
Peter was clear that Jesus was neither slow nor late in keeping His promise. Peter’s statement that “one day is as a thousand years” suggests that time is experienced differently in heaven than on Earth. In that heavenly timeframe, Jesus has been gone only a couple of days.
But what was important for Peter and should be important for us is the reason Jesus has not yet returned: “The Lord … is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” That is a powerful declaration of God’s love. He loves and suffers long with sin and rebellion so that the rebellious sinner will turn to Him.
But make no mistake—Jesus is returning. And we may have a part in His soon return: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matt. 24:14, NKJV).
Those who are in danger of perishing are our family members, our neighbors, the students in our schools, our fellow employees and the people in our communities. And we can add the millions and millions of people who have not yet heard the gospel and who make up “the nations.” Jesus delays His coming so that the Good News can be witnessed far and wide.
I pray that the gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed to and throughout all nations. May the peoples be saved, delivered and discipled, and may a new “Jesus Movement” be experienced globally. This is why we “pray, give, partner and go.”
By: Jim Scott, vice president of Global Operations and director of Foursquare Missions International