All this past week my thoughts have been centered on Maranatha. When I lived in Peru, our greeting among the people at church used to be “God’s Peace!” In Sweden, a distinctive greeting among Pentecostal believers was “Frid,” which means Peace. There was no saying hello or hi or goodbye, but PEACE. If you greeted with “peace,” everyone knew where you were coming from.
In the early church they greeted each other with Maranatha, “Our Lord, come!” For every greeting they were reminded that the Lord is coming.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Titus 2:11-14
For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18
I consider this greeting –Maranatha– as one of the most glorious words of a Christian’s vocabulary. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians that they should encourage each other with the hope of Jesus’ return. The voice of an archangel and with the sound of the trumpet of God, that’s what we are waiting for. How exciting to think of being caught up in the clouds, leaving this old world to be always with our beloved Savior.
That is the blessed and glorious hope for the Christian. My heart rejoices but at the same time it cries for all those who do not have this hope. Jesus commissioned us to preach the Gospel. The apostle Paul said it in simple words: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). That is the answer to the age-old question, “What shall I do to be saved?”
Maranatha! If we look around us, we see that the signs that Jesus gave of the day of his coming are being fulfilled.
“And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains… But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” Matthew 24:6-13
Let us be more diligent in praying for our loved ones who do not know Christ. Let’s pray for our friends, neighbors, and co-worker… May we be willing to be the means that God uses to attract them.
I wrote a story this week about waiting, about the promise of Jesus’ return. Share it with your children and grandchildren:
Next time I hope to tell you of a big project I have for reaching out to my neighbors in Fort Gibson with the Gospel. Maybe I can inspire you to do something similar.