5 December 2012

Mark 13:33-37

"And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake." (v. 37)


Have you ever longed for something so much you could burst? A child waiting for Christmas? A lover waiting for the beloved to come home? An email or letter telling you of good news?

Waiting for something you know is coming is exciting and exhilarating - it makes you want to pop! But how do you feel about those things that you don't know are coming? What about those things that come as a surprise?

In this short parable Mark, who offers overtones from other parables, tells the reader of a short story Jesus told that highlighted something a little different about the end days when Jesus would return again. In this story we are told that a man (Jesus) goes on a journey. This detail is important: it is not a party or a gathering where his return is set. It is a journey, so he will be away for a long time and the timing of his return is uncertain.

However, the man has made provision for his absence - each slave has their duty to fulfil and the door keepers are asked to be on watch. When he does return he expects the work to be done and the watchers to have stayed awake.

This idea that Jesus could return at anytime is unnerving. I might well meet him in the supermarket, the pub or the bookmakers. He could end up in the brothel or the drug den, sleeping homeless or sitting in a room alone with profound disability. He might be the elderly woman or the brazen young man.

Our task is simply to "keep awake"; to be attentive to the narrative of God in the person of Jesus; to continue faithfully in the tasks that we have been called to; and to watch ... so that when he does come - we see!

To Ponder

  • How do we prepare for something that we do not know is coming?
  • Where have you seen Jesus recently?
  • What is it that God has called you to?
  • How are you remaining faithful to that call?

Bible notes author

The Revd Simon Sutcliffe

Simon Sutcliffe is an ordained minister in the Methodist Church currently working part time as the tutor for evangelism and church growth at Queen's Foundation, Birmingham and part time as a pioneer minister with Venture FX establishing new forms of Christian community in the Chester and Stoke-on-Trent District. Simon has four children who help to keep him grounded and in a constant cycle of tidying up(!), and is deeply disappointed that none of them support Bradford City..