Jesus has just spoken to His disciples of His departure from the earth.
The detail Jesus has provided about the events which will transpire from His time into our future are staggering. Can you imagine what the disciples must have been feeling and sensing?
In the first case, it would have been difficult and even tragic to even think of Jesus leaving. He has been their ‘All in All’ and their ‘everything’ in this period of their lives.
For three years He has walked with them and provided God’s instruction and guidance in every thought, and every word, in every deed. It is impossible to fathom how MUCH they may have learned from Jesus while they walked with Him. Can you imagine trusting God with EVERY decision and action for three years’ time – and then having to contemplate losing that sort of direct counsel and instruction?
Sure, the teaching Jesus has just laid out for them in Luke 17 is fantastic, but rest assured, the part they probably heard the loudest was the part where He informed them He is leaving them. (The implication is He is leaving soon.)
And so, certainly the focus goes to His return, which Jesus also emphasized. However, in the prophetic manner Jesus spoke, His return is not as well-defined as His departure.
It still isn’t today, and this becomes an issue for all Christians. When WILL Jesus return?
How are we to respond to His absence?
As Christians we are dealing with the very same issues His disciples were when it comes to Jesus’ return. He promised to return. When will this be? (WILL it be?)
Jesus reassures His disciples with the same guidance He provides us. His return is certain. A given. There should be no doubt. Why then do they/we doubt? Why then would we possibly lack when it comes to making our petitions before God? Why would our persistence ever lag – especially when we see earthly examples all around us making their persistent petitions to earthly judges for their needs? Poignantly, and very poignantly Jesus asks: “When I return, will I really find faith on the earth?”