Most people, when they think of Christmas, have visions such as Santa, Reindeer, or even sugar plum fairies dancing in their heads.
But not my friend Scott Derrickson, whose Christmas season release of The Day the Earth Stood Still should bring decidedly different kinds of Holiday cheers and fears. A giant robot and Keanu Reeves drop in on Planet Earth to have a little 'chat' with the way we've all been trashing the environment.
And if we don't clean up our act in time, ironically enough the planet will get thrashed anyway.
I've always loved alien apocalyptic flicks that combine eye candy effects with a thoughtful and entertaining plot - and I believe Scott has knocked one out of the park - or maybe even out of the planet with this one.
The title of the movie - 'The Day the Earth Stood Still' - should sort of sound familiar to you if you've been a Christ follower for some length of time. Why? Because there is a day coming when all the world really will stand still and look up at something completely unprecedented in all of history. It will not be a super cool spaceship or giant alien robot - as fascinating as that would be - this is a scene that will take the breath out of every man, woman, and child on the face of the Earth:
From Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.
Look, he is coming with the clouds,
and every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him;
and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen.
"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty." (Revelation 1:4-8)
These verses do not paint a fuzzy picture about the day the Earth will stand still. They specifically describe the time when Jesus Christ will appear and 'all the peoples of the earth' will have all their religious, spiritual, and theological confusion cleared up. The reason that they 'mourn' is because the truth is now as plain as the sun in the sky. The Son in the sky at this instance comes as a Judge to set things straight.
I know that there are some who believe that Jesus' return won't be literal, but for me, I'm going with what the angelic beings revealed to the disciples after Jesus literally ascended into heaven:
Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11).
Jesus left in a very real and physical sense, and (I believe) His very real and physical return is sooner than we think.
So why is He returning to Earth? The Bible indicates that Jesus' second coming is to raise the dead, judge the wicked, establish His Kingdom, and ultimately destroy sin and death. That's why Jesus Himself warns everyone with these words:
So you, too, must keep watch! For you don't know what day your Lord is coming. Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into. You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected (Matthew 24:42-44).
Indeed, this is serious and frankly scary sounding stuff…but it doesn't need to be. Jesus lets us know straight up how we can be prepared the day the earth really stands still. It is simply this:
And 'be ready'
To 'keep watch' is literally to be alert and vigilant. In other words, if I told you that at any minute of every day a plane might crash into your house, would you be watching the skies? That's what keeping watch means.
To 'be ready' means to be have things prepared. What Jesus is saying is that we must live our lives each day in light of the fact that He could show up at any minute. Can you see how radically this truth should impact our lives? Would you really speak out in gossip and anger if you knew they might be the last words you speak before His return? Would you really hold bitterness inside when you know that might be the attitude of your heart when you see Jesus face to face?
One day the Earth really will stand still when every eye will see Jesus.
Are you watching? Are you ready?
Head: The return of Jesus Christ is one of the clear teachings of the Bible. Because of this fact, it is critical that we keep watch and are prepared for this amazing event.
Heart: The fact the Jesus is coming back is not meant to frighten us, rather to give us hope. Evil and suffering will one day be removed forever from our existence, and the best part is we will see Jesus 'face to face'.
Hands: This week, take some time to think through how you can be more watchful and prepared for the day Jesus Christ returns. As well, think about your friends who don't have a relationship with Jesus Christ and share the good news of the gospel with them so they can be prepared for that day.