June 7, 2016 • Life for Leaders
He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
In yesterday’s Life for Leaders devotion, I confessed that I used to feel reticent to pray in the words of Revelation 22:20, “Come, Lord Jesus.” I feared that Jesus’ coming would take all of the adventure and challenge out of life, leaving me in an endless church service in Heaven. But, as I’ve come to understand that the life of the future offers the promise of life as God intended it, life filled with even more adventures, challenges, opportunities, and joys, I can now pray, “Come, Lord Jesus.” I believe that whatever lies ahead for me will be gloriously better than what I’m experiencing now.
The more we pay attention to the brokenness of our world and the more we listen to the voice of the Spirit whispering in our ears, the more we will long for God to “put our world to rights,” and therefore the more we will pray “Come, Lord Jesus.”
However, I almost never pray, “Come, Lord Jesus” because I want a better life for myself. Rather, I offer this prayer most often in response to the suffering and pain of others. I see images of innocent people being blown up in marketplaces around the world on the news and I pray, “Come, Lord Jesus, and bring your peace.” I hear stories of people mistreated because of their skin color or ethnic background and I pray, “Come, Lord Jesus, and bring your justice.” I see people weeping because their loved ones have died and I pray, “Come, Lord Jesus, and bring your comfort, your life, your joy.”
During our slow devotional walk through the last two chapters of Revelation, we have seen some of what will happen when Jesus comes again. God “will wipe away every tear from [our] eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (21:4). On the sides of the river that flows in the New Jerusalem will grow the tree of life. The “leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations” (22:2). These verses offer hints of the life of the future, when God makes right all that is wrong with our sin-tainted, broken world.
N.T. Wright begins his book Simply Christian by noting our deep-seated desire for “putting the world to rights.” Though our world is filled with injustice, we have dreams of all things being made right. Why? How did this longing for justice arise? Wright answers this question: “[The] reason we have these dreams, the reason we have a sense of a memory of the echo of a voice, is that there is someone speaking to us, whispering in our inner ear—someone who cares very much about this present world and our present selves, and who has made us and the world for a purpose which will indeed involve justice, things being put to rights, ourselves being put to rights, the world being rescued at last” (p. 9).
Following Wright’s lead, I would suggest that the more we pay attention to the brokenness of our world and the more we listen to the voice of the Spirit whispering in our ears, the more we will long for God to “put our world to rights,” and therefore the more we will pray “Come, Lord Jesus.”
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
What encourages you to pray, “Come, Lord Jesus”?
Can you relate to Wright’s description of the “voice” that gives us a yearning for justice?
If we recognize that the Lord alone can establish justice and peace on earth, does this let us off the hook? Is our only duty to sit around and wait, praying “Come, Lord Jesus”?
Come, Lord Jesus!
Indeed, come Lord and heal our wounded world. Come and bring justice for those who are oppressed. Come and wipe away the tears of those who weep. Come and set free those who are in bondage. Come and bring your kingdom in all of its fullness. Amen.
Explore online Bible commentary: The Meaning of Revelation for Our Work at the Theology of Work Project.
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.