A few housekeeping notes. I’ll be doing this studies through Wednesday this week, with a special Christmas Eve one on Thursday. And next week will look (mostly) normal, but then there won’t be one for a few weeks, I’ll be on a trip to Israel with a group, but while in Israel I’m going to share updates about what we’ve seen. Just wanted to let you know where things are going the next few weeks.
The next few days we’ll be looking at Chapter 13. Click here to read it.
This is one of the apocalyptic parts of Mark’s Gospel. Some of what is happening in this passage is referring to the destruction fo the Temple in 70 AD while other parts of the text are talking about the second coming. Which parts are which? That’s a great question. . . .
That’s one of the things with apocalyptic works, is that it’s not always clear which is which. That’s why there is so much debate of what passages like this mean, because no one really is sure about timeline and when things will happen. Jesus actually makes this point today in this passage.
So today, I want to make a few observations from this text that may be helpful for our daily living. For me, that’s the tool I use the most with passages like this. Let’s look at the big picture, what can we see from a big perspective, what makes sense on a big level. Here are some big points to understand within this text.
First, we are told several times, don’t be afraid. You’ll see things that are happening that worry you; that scare you. Don’t be afraid. Over and over in scripture that is one of the primary messages of the Bible. Don’t be afraid. Even when things are bad or scary or worrisome. Don’t be afraid. God has this. God is at work. Good things are coming. No matter how dark and bleak it may look, don’t lose hope. God is at work. Things will get better.
The second thing is the reason number one is important. There will be troubles. In this passage Jesus says several times, it will be tough. It will. There will be troubles. The Christian life is not a life of protection from harm. The Christian life is not a life of protection from trouble. There will be trials and troubles and fears and worries. The Christian life is a something that magically keeps this way. In fact, sometimes quite the opposite. The more faithful you may be the more troubles you may face.
But remember point one. Don’t be afraid. God has this. God is at work. Don’t be afraid. God is with us. All will be well. Don’t be afraid.
The third observation is this – be alert. Jesus tells us to pay attention in life. I think this means not just to things concerning His return, but to all of life. Don’t sleepwalk through life. Look around. Pay attention. Where is God at work? Where is God moving? What is God doing? Where does God want you to plug into His works? Let’s pay attention today!
And last, in regards to His return, He says no one knows the hour or date. Only the Father. For me, this renders any group or organization that says – it’s going to happen on _______ invalid because Jesus plainly say, no one will know. Are we closer to His return? Yes, every day we live we are a day closer. And for us a believers, His return is a good thing, a place with no more death, fear, sin, sickness, none of the destructive things of this world.
So, going back to point one – do not be afraid!
We’ll look a little more in depth tomorrow at Chapter 13.
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