“The days are coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you won’t see it. They will say to you, ‘See there!’ or ‘See here!’ Don’t follow or run after them. For as the lightening flashes from horizon to horizon and lights up the sky, so the Son of Man will be in his day.” – Jesus, Luke 17:22-24 (CSB)
Something that distinguishes many cults is secrecy. They don’t want their true beliefs or inner workings to be publicly known. Some have even twisted views of Christianity, setting up secret sects or compounds, claiming that Jesus has returned and is among them.
But Jesus, himself, gives us a different picture of his return. Though in the Son of God’s incarnation into the world, he was born without much fanfare to a young couple from the lower end of the social spectrum, when he returns it will be anything but unspectacular.
There won’t be secret appearances or compounds in which to gather in the wilderness. There won’t be people disappearing and the world wondering what had happened. No, Jesus’ return is going to be visible and public. There will not be a person on the earth who will miss it.
Lightning, in it’s brief moment of existence, can make the darkest hour of night seem like day. You can’t not notice when lightning strikes. The same will be true with Jesus’ return.
The church at Thessalonica encountered some false teaching that said otherwise. Someone, pretending to be Paul, wrote telling them that they had missed the return of Jesus, and this upset them greatly. So, Paul reminded them not to be troubled. They knew what he had originally taught them and it was still true. Jesus wasn’t coming back in secret but he’d be revealed “from heaven with his powerful angels” (2 Thessalonians 1:6).
So, we can rest in what Jesus said. We don’t have to worry about missing his return or having to find him in some hidden gathering. When he comes back, the whole world will know.