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When We See Christ

When We See Christ
Image: Cyndi Monaghan / Getty´╗┐

My Dear Shepherds,

My father died on a Sunday morning in 1986 as he was getting ready for church. The Sunday before he’d been pressed into service to cover the “special music” in our little country church. He sang, “It will be worth it all when we see Jesus.” But part way through he broke down in tears, something he never did, and the pianist, Marge, finished singing it for him. The very next Sunday morning at that hour he was seeing Jesus.

These Eastertide weeks prompt us to revel in our hope, including the wonderful prospect of seeing our beloved Lord face-to-face. Titus tells us to pursue godliness “in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” Jesus himself promised,

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:3)

In his cave on Patmos, John saw a revelation of the glorified Christ, whom we also shall see. He was robed in white with a golden sash, his hair was white as snow and his eyes blazed like fire. “His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters.” Stunning! Breathtaking! Knee-buckling!

But that’s not all. Because to meet Jesus will be to meet our Friend. If Jesus calls us his friends now, how sweet will be our meeting then! We will not be kept at some respectful distance as subjects from a king. If we’re invited to come boldly to his throne now, how much more then, for it is our dearest Friend, our ever-present confidant and helper, whom we shall see.

To Jesus, though, we are even more than friends. We are his beloved Bride and he is our Bridegroom. We are eager to see Jesus but surely he is even more eager to be with us. No groom has ever waited so long or so passionately, nor ever paid so much as Jesus did for us. He not only saved us, he wooed and won us. He marries us!

The first big event when we are all gathered home is our wedding feast. And at that feast, as hard as it is to imagine, “he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them” (Luke 12:37). Pastors have the unique vantage point in weddings to watch a bride coming down the aisle to meet her groom. Is there any look quite like that which passes between them? So it will be when we see Christ!

There will be a family reunion, too. Those who are already with the Lord and those who are still alive …

… will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. (1 Thess. 4:17)

God’s people have never all been together. There are believers in your town, even on your street, whom you’ve never met. Across countless generations and vast distances, and in scores of languages we’ve all confessed “one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all,” but we’ve never all been together. We’ve shared Scripture, testimonies, songs, and prayers, but we’ve never all been together. But on that bright day, at the summons of the trumpet, we will meet the Lord and all our brothers and sisters in the air, finally home forever.

Be ye glad!

Lee Eclov recently retired after 40 years of local pastoral ministry and now focuses on ministry among pastors. He writes a weekly devotional for preachers on Preaching Today.

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