Tomorrow evening, the world will be a lot quieter. And less populated. At least, that’s what Harold Camping would have you believe. If you’ve missed out on all the hyperactivity concerning Camping’s declaration that tomorrow will bring the Rapture of all true Christians to heaven for their glorious marriage to the Son of God, Jesus Christ, then you’re most likely Amish (which, if so, you probably have nothing to worry about).
But amid the various radio DJs talking about it, and several people on Facebook and Twitter commenting on it, I thought I would sit down and ask myself one fundamental question, the answer to which should guide my attitude and response to this surreal story:
What would Jesus do?
And the answer I keep coming up with: probably laugh.
I realize that sounds a bit flippant, possibly even blasphemous to some, but it’s what I keep coming back to. I mean, Jesus knew stuff like this was going to happen because he said as much: “Beware false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15). So it’s not hard to imagine that if he walking these streets today and heard Mr. Camping’s spiel, Jesus might just give a giggle before turning the situation around.
I can see him, sitting outside a coffee shop, motioning for everyone to put their iPhones down and listen up. John would be at his right hand, Peter probably standing in the background, talking on a Bluetooth. The crowds would be slight, unless he had multiplied his half-caf venti mocha for whosoever was thirsty; in which case, plenty of folks angling for a caffeine fix would be wiling to sit down and listen.
Jesus would probably scan the crowd, his eyes seeming to settle on each face as they moved past, his mouth turned slightly at the corners but still solemn. After a moment’s pause, he would open his mouth and say something like:
“Listen to me, folks, and trust me on this: the only person who knows when the world is going to end is God, my Father. He designed and created it, and He knows exactly when the moment for it to end will be. Don’t let this fellow fool you; he just wants your attention, and he’s willing to abuse my Father’s name to get it. In the end, he will get what’s coming to him.
But that’s true of everyone sitting here today. Every man, woman and child will stand before my Father one day to be judged. And for some, their religiosity and devotion to certain beliefs will not be judged well by my Father. For others, their outright denial of my Father will be their downfall. For others, their churchiness without commitment to me will bring them a judgment of despair.
But for those who hear what I have to say, who believe that my Father has sent me to be sacrifice for the sin of this world, they will have an entirely different judgment. Instead of trembling before the righteous God in fear, they will tremble in adoration and love. They will be greeted by the words, ‘Well done, servant – enter My Glory.’ And what awaits them will be beyond the limits of the human imagination, beyond the scope of words; what awaits them will be a reunion with the God who made them, who loves them, and who will sustain them for all time.
Tomorrow, whether the world ends or not, is still tomorrow. But today, the Kingdom of God is before you, the Father of All is before you, inviting you to take part. What will you do?”
And Jesus, his final words still echoing in the hearts of his hearers, would probably stand then, and quietly make his way down the sidewalk towards a park or someone’s house where he could sit and rest a bit, maybe even talk with his disciples in private, leaving the people who heard him to make a decision.
Tomorrow, God’s people most likely won’t vanish from the earth leaving a shattered planet. But even if they do, the issue still remains:
Tomorrow isn’t here yet. But the Kingdom of God is. What will you do?
Just a thought.