When I was a tween convert to the Jesus Movement, I remember seeing this T-shirt: “Jesus Is Coming Back, and He’s [Ticked] Off.” I thought, “Yeah, man, he’s so angry with all those old fogeys and hypocrites who do not see how precious we are in the Jesus Movement.”
While I enjoy laughing at the vanity of my tween self, I do not abandon the heart of the truth expressed in today’s Gospel passage: Jesus is coming back. How he responds to any one of us depends on whether we greet him as Lord or merely as a symbol whose name we have invoked for self-focused purposes.
Bob Dylan expressed it well in the blistering blues song that closes his album Saved:
Are you ready to meet Jesus?
Are you where you ought to be?
Will he know you when he sees you
Or will he say, “Depart from Me”?
… Are you ready for the judgment?
Are you ready for that terrible swift sword?
Are you ready for Armageddon?
Are you ready for the day of the Lord?