Today we would look at the argument Peter is making here and take it a step or two further. People aren’t just mocking the idea of Christ’s return, but of the very existence of God. It is not just a delay that feeds doubts. Two thousand years is a bit more time than most of Jesus’ followers would have imagined in Peter’s day. Nowadays people point to a lack of evidence, and laugh at the “primitive” belief in a God at all.
Peter’s audience questioned God’s delay. We often do as well. Peter reminds us that God’s love and His patience hold His judgement back. God’s desire is that more people will turn to Him. It is also God’s love and patience that keep Him from stepping visibly into the world in His fullness. Faith is required for entry into God’s kingdom. Once He does return everyone will see and know, but the time for trust and faith will be past.
It has been a long time since Jesus inaugurated God’s kingdom. Most would have thought by now that the Second Coming would have occurred. Many alive today are convinced that they are in the last days, and by that they mean that Christ is coming in their lifetime. Of course, all generations have thought that. That there is the worst of times. That Jesus is just around the corner. That the world will not go on without them.
Well, in God’s view, the “Last Days” have already endured 2,000 years. They could easily go on for another two, or three, or more thousand. We can hardly claim that we have it worse than people have before us. God’s patience endures.
And yet we believe two things for certain: God’s Kingdom will be fully realized and we have a place awaiting us in it. The world may go on for millennia, but we do not have that long. While we await on the promise of a world as it was meant to be, we are to live as citizens of that Kingdom now. This world is not our home.