Mark 13, called the Olivet Discourse, is Jesus' longest continuous teaching passage in Mark. Jesus makes the prediction that the temple is going to be destroyed, and weaves together the near and far. The near prediction came to be in 70 AD when the temple was physically destroyed by the Romans. The far off event, which includes the end of the world, the coming of the Antichrist, the great tribulation was (and is) still yet to happen.
The disciples asked in verse 4, "Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are about to be accomplished?" Jesus begins with a warning that is applicable to any believer at any time: "Watch out that no one deceives you." There have been and will be many that try to deceive us into thinking that they know the time and place. They do not. Each generation will have its own wars and natural disasters. Yet all these events fall within God's purposes.
These are the beginning of the birth pains...there is someone coming!
Jesus says, "be on your guard" over and over again. We do not know the day or the time (vs 32), but we are called by Him to be ready for His return. We shouldn't be surprised by the catastrophes of nature, the wars throughout history, or the sufferings of God's people.
Remember, His words about tomorrow are meant to change the way we live today.
Jesus was very clear on two points:
- no one can set a date on when these events will take place.
- we must remain alert! (vs 33, 34, 35, 37)
"He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming soon." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God's people. Amen.
As we reflect today, here are a few questions to discuss:
- If you did know that Jesus was coming back next year, how would you live differently this year?
- With that in mind, how do you "be on guard" as Jesus challenged us?