Mark 13

Greetings!  This reading is Mark 13.

This is a challenging chapter, as it deals with predictions of Jesus’ return and other prophecies.  As with other Biblical prophecies, there can be a mix of near-term and long-term predictions.  Jesus predicted that the temple in Jerusalem would be destroyed, and it happened in 70 A.D. (roughly 37 years after Jesus ascended into Heaven).  The Bible doesn’t record the destruction, which is a fairly strong argument that virtually all of the New Testament was written before that time. The temple was the focal point of Jewish worship and its destruction was a huge issue for them.

Once again Jesus warns about false teachers and the potential costs of being his disciple. 

Mark 13 As he was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!” “Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.” As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked him privately, “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?”

Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.

“You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them. And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit. “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.

“When you see ‘the abomination that causes desolation’ standing where it does not belong—let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the roof of his house go down or enter the house to take anything out. Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that this will not take place in winter, because those will be days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now—and never to be equaled again. If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect, whom he has chosen, he has shortened them. At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect—if that were possible. So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.

When Jesus returns, there will be no mistaking it.  Be very wary of those making predictions about when Jesus is coming back.  Yes, we should watch for signs, but countless people have made themselves and Christianity look foolish with their false predictions.

“But in those days, following that distress, “‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ “At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens. “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. “Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’”

Jesus is God, but He divested himself of certain rights when He humbled himself and came to earth.  That is why he didn’t know the exact time of his return.  But He warns us to keep watch and be ready.  You may live 50 more years, or 50 more days or just 50 more minutes.  Jesus may return before you die, or He may not.  Either way, that will be the time of judgment. 

We shouldn’t be so focused on his return that we withdraw from society, though.  Jesus taught us to be “salt and light” and to share his truth with the world. 

Reflect on what stood out to you in this reading and share your comments and questions if you like.

The next reading is Mark 14.

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One Response

  1. .

    We work like a horse.
    We eat like a pig.
    We like to play chicken.
    You can get someone’s goat.
    We can be as slippery as a snake.
    We get dog tired.
    We can be as quiet as a mouse.
    We can be as quick as a cat.
    Some of us are as strong as an ox.
    People try to buffalo others.
    Some are as ugly as a toad.
    We can be as gentle as a lamb.
    Sometimes we are as happy as a lark.
    Some of us drink like a fish.
    We can be as proud as a peacock.
    A few of us are as hairy as a gorilla.
    You can get a frog in your throat.
    We can be a lone wolf.
    But I’m having a whale of a time!

    You have a riveting web log
    and undoubtedly must have
    atypical & quiescent potential
    for your intended readership.
    May I suggest that you do
    everything in your power to
    honor your encyclopedic/omniscient
    Designer/Architect as well
    as your revering audience.
    As soon as we acknowledge
    this Supreme Designer/Architect,
    Who has erected the beauteous
    fabric of the universe, our minds
    must necessarily be ravished with
    wonder at this infinate goodness,
    wisdom and power.

    Please remember to never
    restrict anyone’s opportunities
    for ascertaining uninterrupted
    existence for their quintessence.

    There is a time for everything,
    a season for every activity
    under heaven. A time to be
    born and a time to die. A
    time to plant and a time to
    harvest. A time to kill and
    a time to heal. A time to
    tear down and a time to
    rebuild. A time to cry and
    a time to laugh. A time to
    grieve and a time to dance.
    A time to scatter stones
    and a time to gather stones.
    A time to embrace and a
    time to turn away. A time to
    search and a time to lose.
    A time to keep and a time to
    throw away. A time to tear
    and a time to mend. A time
    to be quiet and a time to
    speak up. A time to love
    and a time to hate. A time
    for war and a time for peace.

    Best wishes for continued ascendancy,
    Dr. Whoami

    P.S. One thing of which I am sure is
    that the common culture of my youth
    is gone for good. It was hollowed out
    by the rise of ethnic “identity politics,”
    then splintered beyond hope of repair
    by the emergence of the web-based
    technologies that so maximized and
    facilitated cultural choice as to make
    the broad-based offerings of the old
    mass media look bland and unchallenging
    by comparison.”

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