"And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come" (Matthew 24:14 NIV84).
Jesus' words in Matthew 24 are filled with dire warnings of the signs that precede his second coming. Wars, rumors of wars, persecution, false prophets, earthquakes, and famines are among the scourges listed. One might wonder whether that list is simply representative and whether pandemics might also be such a sign.
Along with the list, we find a glimmer of hope, in the words of Matthew 24:14, above. The Good News of Christ's kingdom of grace, by which he rules in this world, and his kingdom of glory by which he rules in the world to come, stands in stark contrast to the conflict and pestilence that Jesus describes. It's also Good News to those of us dealing with COVID-19. Who of us would not say with St. Paul:
"I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far" (Philippians 1:23 NIV84).
Yet while we're here, we have a job to do. Jesus commissions us as his emissaries to make disciples of
"all nations" (Matthew 28:18). Among the many opportunities that this awful virus has given us, it has forced many of us to proclaim the Gospel more publicly than ever before. Many congregations in Texas are reporting a MUCH larger attendance for online worship than ever experienced in person.
Perhaps the current situation is just another step in Jesus' assurance that
"the gospel of the kingdom will preached to all nations."
For when it is, Jesus says, our longings will be fulfilled:
"then the end will come."
Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!