Now in the passage we read above from Matthew, Jesus speaks of all the people on earth weeping as they see the Son of Man coming back. But other passages tell us that not everyone will be weeping. Those who have learned to trust Him will be very glad to see Him come. This was clearly predicted way back in the days of Isaiah: “In that day they will say, ‘Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the Lord, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.’” Isa 25:9, NIV.
While many will rejoice when Jesus returns, most of the world will have turned against God (Rev 13:8). And because they have not learned to trust Jesus, they will flee from Him in terror, even though He will come back in human form: “They called to the mountains and the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!’” Rev 6:16, NIV. How could they possibly flee from gentle Jesus, meek and mild? While He does come back in majesty and power, there is still no need to be afraid. But Satan has so convinced his allies that God is arbitrary, vengeful, and severe, they will actually flee from Him as He cries after them, “Why will you die? How can I give you up? How can I let you go?” Ezekiel 18:31; Hosea 11:8. How thoroughly Satan will have convinced these people that his lies about God are the truth!
What makes the difference between the reaction of the righteous and the reaction of the rest? Peter and Judas looked at the same gentle but majestic face of Jesus during His trial. One of them was moved to repentance (Matt 26:75; Mark 14:72; Luke 22:61-62). The other one was moved to go out and take his own life (Matt 26:47-50; 27:3-5; Acts 1:15-20). Our Lord is not two-faced. The difference is in us! Those who have learned to welcome the good news, the truth about our God, have learned to trust and admire God’s wise and gracious ways. They will be ready to see Him come, even to see Him in His glory, and not be afraid. They will be awestruck, to be sure, but not scared of our God. Those who have despised and rejected this good news, on the other hand, will actually look at the one who died for them and, like Judas, be driven by that sight to suicidal action (Rev 6:15-17).