“I shall return!” Famous words spoken by General Douglas MacArthur in 1942. He and the US Armed Forces had been stationed in the Philippine Islands during WWII. Now the islands were about to be seized by the Japanese, and President Roosevelt had ordered MacArthur and his troops to another area of the Pacific theater.
“I shall return!” General MacArthur did not want to leave the Philippines. He did not want the people to lose their country and their freedom to the Japanese. (not to mention that is also was a strategic base for US armed forces fighting against Japan) Folks in the US thought MacArthur’s statement was pretty cool. It has gone down in history as a very famous quote. For the US, MacArthur’s return would mean a victory for the Allies.
I wonder what the Philippines thought of MacArthur’s promise to return. As they were about to be overrun by the Japanese, did they hold tight to MacArthur’s promise? Did they wait anxiously for his return to their islands, to set them free from the enemy?
In 1944 General MacArthur kept his promise as he and the Allied forces returned to the Philippines and defeated the Japanese.
Jesus has made the same promise to us. Unlike MacArthur, Jesus wasn’t leaving us because the enemy was taking over. He had already won the war. Now it was time for Him to return to Heaven. His work was done. Ours was just beginning. I imagine that the disciples and followers of Jesus felt very much alone, and vulnerable after Jesus ascended into Heaven. But there was that promise…”I shall return!”
In John 14:2-3 Jesus promised His disciples (and us) “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” He will return! In Acts 1:11, as the disciples witnessed Jesus’ ascension to Heaven, 2 angels appeared beside them and promised, “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.”
Have you read Revelation? If you have a red-letter edition, one where the quoted words of Jesus are printed in red, you will see red print. Jesus spoke to John, and John wrote down those words in the Book of Revelation. In the very last chapter Jesus upgrades his promise.
“Behold, I am coming soon!’
“Behold, I am coming soon!”
“Yes, I am coming soon.”