I remember as a child being fascinated by the circus. Not that I ever wanted to run away and join one, but they were magical places full of wonder. They were larger than life places and used all kinds of imagery to fire up the imagination and awe of children. One of the biggest circuses in my childhood was Barnum and Baileys circus which was promoted as the greatest show on earth. But in the circus as I grew older I discovered that this greatness was an illusion. As an adult I became jaded and cynical about the circus when I saw that it was not real and I lost that childhood wonder.
In Jesus as Christians there is likewise a “Greatest Show on Earth” which is to come, and like the circus there are illusions that will precede it, not from God but from the enemy. This is what this section of scripture discusses.
The Return of the Lord
The greatest show on earth will be the return of the Lord at Jesus’ second coming. There has never been a day like it in history, nor will there be again when He returns to take His rightful place as ruler of this world. It will be unmissable and everyone will see it.
The Lord says that all eyes will witness the return of the Lord for it will be, “…as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of man be in his day.” (Verse 24) Lightning appears suddenly and out of nowhere to instantly light the sky. That is how Jesus will return, in an instant and all will know.
Think of it like this. When there is a storm with dark clouds and gloomy conditions, lightning often fills the sky and lights up the landscape. Now imagine if instead of the lightning being just a short and sharp bolt that lights the land for a moment and then is gone, imagine if it lit the world as bright as the sun and stayed alight. Imagine it lighting the world from horizon to horizon and staying alight. That is what the return of the Lord will be like.
The return of the Lord will be the greatest show on earth and no one will miss it. Every eye will behold the majesty of our Lord and Saviour coming for his people, for those waiting patiently for him to return. But they need to be aware for deceptions will arise.
Warning about Deception
In this section of scripture Jesus gives us a warning saying, “And they will say to you, ‘Lo, there!’ or ‘Lo, here!’ Do not go, do not follow them.” (Verse 23) There will be people arise and some already have arisen, who will claim to be Jesus. They will claim that they are the embodiment of the returned Christ, and they will lead some people astray.
But as we have already seen, you will not need to go looking for the return of the Lord. You will not have to go out to the wilderness or into the cities or on the tops of mountains or anywhere else. The return of the Lord will be so momentous that it will be the only thing happening on that day. It will be on the news, on the web, on the radio and in the papers. People will be in the streets watching as the Lord descends with his angels to take control of this earth. He will usher in the new age with his returning and presence, and what a golden age it will be for his people.
What About the Rest of the World?
When the Lord returns all of the arguments and lies that have been made for millennia about the truth of Jesus will fall apart. Those who say they will not believe unless they see it for themselves will indeed see it…and it will be too late. The opponents of God will be dealt with and the opportunity of salvation will be gone.
The Lord’s return will commence the reign of the millennial age when He binds Satan, deals with the peoples of the world and he cleans up the mess that is the world as we know it. At the end of this period the devil will be loosed for a short time and the final battle will be fought. Then He will remove the devil for good and we will come to the Last Judgement when every person will stand before the throne of the Almighty and be judged.
Our aim now and that of every Christian is to seek Jesus and the way of truth so that we can pass out of judgement and not be subject to the second death, which is the death of the spirit of man. There is much to discuss on this issue, but I will leave that for another time. Please add any comments you may have below.
(Photo sourced from stock.xchng www.sxc.hu/ taken by Gòria Garcia Falcó)