Over the years there have been comic strips and even movies and television shows with the old man and the placard announcing that “The end is near.” It is the end of the world as we know it according to the placard and whether you believe in God or not it makes you stop and think. In our world today the question might be asked by you or someone you know, “Is the end of the world near?” And the answer is – I/we don’t really know.
Jesus said it pretty clearly in Matthew 24:14 when He was being asked by His disciples if the end of the world as they knew it was ending. He told them and us when the end will come: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (ESV). There it is. The end of the world will come when all nations have had the gospel of Jesus Christ preached in them. Apparently this has not happened yet so the world has not ended.
The Son of God told us that “no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son (in His human nature), but the Father only” (Matthew 24:36 ESV). Later Jesus says; “Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matthew 24:44 ESV). Followers of Jesus must be ready at all times for the imminent return of Jesus Christ!
How do we, as followers of Jesus, get ready for His return? We can take one major clue from what Jesus reference in the three verses. His gospel is to be proclaimed throughout the whole world and then the end will come; we are to carry out the Great Commission from Matthew 28:18-20 in making disciples of all nations. We must be telling people about Jesus every opportunity that confronts us and that is on a daily basis. Whether it is by working extremely hard and well at our job or treating people with kindness or sharing what Jesus did on our behalf we have an opportunity each day to carry out the most important mission ever given to mankind. It is the church, which is the Bride of Christ that carries out this mission and in many parts of the world it is taking place.
We must also be praying that God will send out workers into that Great Commission, which is also called the Harvest by Jesus in the Scripture. Matthew 9:35-38 tells us: “And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When He saw the crowds, He had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest’” (ESV). Jesus is going to all the cities and villages that His Father wanted Him to enter and preach His good news and He was backing His teaching up with miracle upon miracle. But it was what He said to His disciples that really stand out in this passage. In essence He said that the harvest field is huge and there is not enough workers to enter into the harvest so ask, plead, beg the Master of the harvest to send out more workers that the job might get finished sooner rather than later.
Jesus sets the example by going to all the places He did and then He invites us along with Him to proclaim the good news of His coming. If we really believed what Jesus said here all His followers would pray this. The conclusion is that if all prayed this way then it could be that all of us would be candidates for going into the harvest. But wait, we are all in the harvest and if we are all in the harvest then we best be working as if the field is ripe for harvest. We are the fulfillment of our own prayers about the harvest and all followers of Jesus live in the harvest field and thus we ought to be harvesting right here and right now. Not one follower of Jesus is exempt from this Great Commission that Jesus laid out for us prior to ascending back to the Father.
Maybe my first step, your first step is to get alone before the Father and allow Him to change our hearts to be in line with His. We need to have our heart broken with that which breaks the heart of God. The world desperately needs hope and that hope is in Jesus of whom we are to take His message to the harvest which is before us and we are in the midst of right now. The most useful you can be right away is to be broken before Him so that you can be of use to the Master for His great and eternal work.
Thanks to our Guest Contributor:
Pastor Ray Peters
Harvest Alliance Church
Jesus said Himself in the Gospel of Matthew that the Father had given Him all authority. “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me” (Matthew 28:18). And Jesus said something similar in Matthew 11:27; “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.”
Some definitions might come in handy here. The word “All” stands in the first place in both verses quoted. The definition that people give “All” is something along these lines: “All is all and that is all that all means.” So “all” means “all.” Colossians 1:16 gives us a better Biblical definition into this idea of “all” – “For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things were created through Him and for Him.” Here we see Jesus’ role in creation and this is supported by Hebrews 1:2 and through Him everything that we can see and cannot see and can understand and not understand were made by Him. This creative truth about Jesus shows forth His authority that He speaks of in the gospels.
The second term from the Matthew passage that would be good to define is “authority.” When we read this verse from the Gospel we immediately should notice that Jesus’ authority was given to Him by His Father. So we can see that Jesus has delegated authority so He has all the authority of the Father while He walked upon the earth. A couple of other verses will help us here: “Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in Me does His works” (John 14:10). In John 5:19, 30 Jesus also tells those following Him that He does only what He sees the Father doing.
When the end comes then Jesus will take the church and present it to His Father and He will do it willingly. And this is done so that God the Father will be “all in all.” But while He was upon the earth Jesus had and still has the authority of His Father to rule “all” things.
It was not only Jesus who made these claims but they also are prophesied in the Old Testament. In the prophet Daniel we read: “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and He came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him; His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom one that shall not be destroyed” (Daniel 7:13-14). This is a reiteration of God’s promise to David the king that he would have a kingdom that would never end and his seed would sit on his throne forever and that person is Jesus.
There has been no one before and no one since that had or has the authority that Jesus Christ did and does. Paul the apostle clearly explains in Philippians 2:5-11 the authority that Jesus has until the end of time. “Have this mind among yourselves, which was also in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” These last words of this passage are the fulfillment of another Old Testament prophecy found in Isaiah 45:22-23. Jesus’ coming to earth and His authority upon earth and over all created things were not an afterthought or contingency plan but has been upon the mind of God since eternity past (Revelation 13:8).
When we come to the end of the Bible in the book of Revelation we see the glory given to Jesus and to no one else and this is to the praise of God the Father. The scene in Revelation chapter 5 God the Father is holding a scroll with writing on both sides but it was sealed. An angel asks, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” But no one that John could see right away was worthy to open it and it broke his heart with a great sense of hopelessness. But then someone spoke to John: “And one of the elders said to me, ‘Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that He can open the scroll and its seven seals’” (Revelation 5:5). John turns to look at who the elder was speaking of and he saw a magnificent sight; “I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. And He went and took the scroll from the right hand of Him who was seated on the throne” (Revelation 5:6-7).
And when Jesus walks up to the Father and takes that scroll out of His hand all those in attendance hit the floor in worship; “And they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are You to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and You have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign of the earth’” (Revelation 5:9-10). And then both the Father and the Lamb of God, Jesus, gets all the praise that is due them. People from every generation, past and present, and from every nation that believed in Jesus Christ and what He accomplished upon the cross will sing the greatest song ever to be written.
So until then Jesus has all authority upon this earth at the loving directive of the Father. No other person before or since has more authority than Jesus. People from different ages have made up stories that sound pretty convincing but are not the truth. Jesus is the final word of God both upon earth and in heaven. He has, with His authority, invited people to receive Him and be given eternal life. Believe Him today!