When you run a race, you have an expectation that provides tremendous encouragement. Let me try to explain. In 2019, one of my daughters and I had the opportunity to run a half-marathon (13.1 miles). It was a hot and sunny September Saturday morning. When the gun went off and the race began, every runner had an expectation: at the 13.1 mile mark, there would be a finish line. When you start the race you certainly don’t see the finish line, but you are expecting it. Between the tenth and twelfth mile, the course turned onto a freshly paved blacktop road with no shade and the sun beating directly upon us. That one expectation was what kept many of us running. And although we couldn’t see the finish line until the final tenth of a mile or so, we were looking for it in our minds and we were expecting to see it at 13.1 miles. With each passing mile, we knew we were one mile closer to the finish line.
For believers in Christ, we also have an expectation that keeps us running the Christian race with endurance and faithfulness. That expectation is the Lord’s glorious appearing. Titus 2:13 proclaims, “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” The verb “looking for” means to expect, and it implies that there is an expectation for the fulfillment of a promise. The great promise for the believer is that Jesus is coming again. In other words, as we live life on the earth, we are to be looking for or expecting that the Lord will come again and we will see Him face to face! The appearing of Jesus is our blessed hope and expectation.
Titus 2:11 describes Jesus’ first coming to this earth. “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.” Praise the Lord for His amazing grace: “that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9). Praise the Lord for His incarnation, His crucifixion, His resurrection and His ascension. And the grace of the Gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us how to live or to run the Christian race. Titus 2:12 declares, “teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age.” This verse describes how we are to live our lives for Christ today. But God’s grace not only teaches how we ought to live today, it provides one of the greatest and most encouraging expectations for every believer. You see, in the Christian life, Jesus is the finish line. The One who gave Himself for us is the One who will return from heaven and take us home to be with Him forever (Titus 2:14).
So here is the encouragement for 2020. Expect the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. That expectation will encourage you to live godly even when the race is hard. It will encourage you to run with joy when the race is smooth. It will encourage you to persevere even when you feel like giving up. Jesus Christ may or may not appear in 2020, but we know that with each passing day we move one day closer to His appearing! Keep looking for and expecting the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior!