People often speak about Jesus coming with long and woeful faces like it’s the end of the world. Maybe we should re-frame the way we look at such an end considering it’s the beginning of eternity. I doubt it will be a gloomy affair—it will probably be more like the opening ceremony of all opening ceremonies. Here are ten ways the coming of Jesus will be like the Olympics.
1. Universe Watching
It will be an epic event unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. This is not the standard ceremony where everybody has a great time only to take their memories home a few hours later while leaving a trail of trash behind them. No, this is the opening ceremony for all eternity and nobody will get tired of celebrating.
There’s an eerie verse in Revelation that says there will be silence in heaven (Revelation 8:1). Jesus is coming back with His angels (Matthew 25:31). Does this indicate heaven will be emptied to meet us? Whatever happens in that moment will be more watched than any human feat on earth. Since Jesus came to reconcile things between heaven and earth (Colossians 1:20) we might assume the entire universe will be watching.
2. Mountains Moving
With more dramatic moves than any Hollywood special effects, mountains will tremble and shake before our eyes. People who are NOT friends of Jesus will cry for the rocks to fall on them (Revelation 6:15), but we have no reason to be afraid. God has never wanted to kill anyone–He wants to prevent sin from killing us. He only hopes we will accept the healing that He offers through Jesus. When the mountains tremble something good will happen; the graves will be ripped open and the people we love will jump into our arms with eternal life (1 Thessalonians 4:16). Then we’ll get to watch God move mountains again when He rebuilds the earth and brings down the New Jerusalem.
3. Parade of Nations
Imagine an all-inclusive parade of nations filled with God’s faithful friends throughout Earth’s history. Everyone from Adam and Mary, to Martin Luther King and Mother Teresa will be there. At the head of this parade is Jesus–the worthy One who has reconciled people from every nation, time and place with His life (Revelation 5:9).
Monumental events are more fun when we share them with our family and friends, in this event we also get to meet our pen pals from fifth grade or the children we sponsored through Compassion International. What a thrill to find all of our ancestors in one place and recognize the recurring family traits throughout the generations of each family. Missionaries, friends we have been separated from and family who has forgotten us will all be there.
Along with meeting our favorite historical figures, we will be treated to a panorama of history as God’s epic video footage shows us everything that has ever happened on planet earth. Can you imagine watching Adam and Eve being created? Or the scene where Eve listens to the snake? We might view the actual footage of Noah floating on the ark or Moses talking to God like a friend. We will watch in wonder as Mary is startled by an angel and Jesus cries over Jerusalem before riding a donkey to His death.
We know there are even more stories after the Bible ends. Waldenses hiding in the mountains. Luther struggling to know God. The stage will change again and again with the most sweeping dramas ever told. Watching these events will help us realize God has been fair in every situation.
What celebration would be complete without music? We will be welcomed by music our ears have always longed for, but never heard. Harmonies more beautiful than we have ever imagined will come from straight from the heart of heaven.
How many Olympic athletes dread the fact they will be judged. Consider two athletes–one who has prepared and one who hasn’t. Both know they are going to be judged by their fruit (Luke 6:44,45). One ignores his coach and puts no thought into preparation. The other realizes he’ll never get a perfect score, but he trusts his coach and he’s confident he’ll finish in his best time. Judging is merely an acknowledgment of our condition and the results of the way we have been living. Jesus is our coach and He declares each of us will be a winner if we listen to Him (Matthew 11:15, Philippians 1:6).
Even though we once had something to hide (and that’s true for every one of us) we will no longer bear any shame about our past. We won’t mind saying we were once a thief or liar or prostitute. That’s because we will have new hearts (Ezekiel 36:26) and God will be doing a new thing in our lives. We will have shared our stories to overcome the enemy and give God the glory (Revelation 12:11). It won’t matter how sick we have been in the past–but that we have accepted God’s healing (Jeremiah 17:14).
This is a race where we can all be winners (2 Timothy 4:7) and when we walk into the city with streets made of gold–we will not be bringing home the gold–but we will be coming home to the gold (Revelation 21:21).
Then the King will say to those on his right,
‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father;
take your inheritance,
the kingdom prepared for you
since the creation of the world.
We don’t see the volunteers and athletes running and screaming as the Olympic torch and fireworks light up the entire city. There’s no one standing in the stadium is scared of the fireworks even though display after display of fire seems to rain down on them. No one runs to hide because they trust the producer.
Forget Chinese fireworks. God is the original inventor of fireworks. By this time, the entire Universe will have witnessed how God uses His power through the life of Jesus. This will inspire people and angels to declare that God is trustworthy (Philippians 2:10). As we embrace God’s everlasting love, we will not shrink back from Him –even in His most fiery form. Our God who is a consuming fire to sin (Hebrews 12:29) might even use His everlasting love and fire to greet us with the most amazing fireworks display ever. The Fire that is God is the same, but our ability to trust God then will depend on our choices today. Those who experience God’s healing love will no longer fear His fire (Isaiah 33:14-13, 1 John 4:18).
10. King’s Welcome
Just as an earthly monarch officially welcomes the world to their kingdom, Jesus, as the King of all Kings, will tie up this grandest of opening ceremonies by inviting us and the entire Universe to join Him for all eternity in all kinds of activities that are far beyond our imagination. Anything humans can do, our Creator can do better.
No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this,
Never so much as imagined anything quite like it—
What God has arranged for those who love him.
-1 Corinthians 2:9, MSG