4 May 2013

Mark 13:28-37

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


Once again Jesus is using illustrations to teach those who are around him. The first half of this passage (verses 28-31), the lesson of the fig tree, is an illustration looking to a time of the return of Jesus. He tells those around him that there will be signs and we need to be watching for these. We prepare for the changing of the seasons by looking at the world around us and what is happening. Jesus has given us, recorded throughout the Bible, signs that will happen before he returns which we will have to watch out for. Jesus also says that word of these signs shall not pass away, they will continue even after he is gone (verse 31): this is not just a passing fad but something requires patience as the disciples await this new season.

The second part of this passage (verses 32-37) is an illustration for the followers of Jesus that is very similar to that of the fig tree. It implores them to keep a ready eye for his return looking for the signs of change provided in the previous verses. This time the analogy used refers to a man who goes away, Jesus here is most likely referring to his death, resurrection and ascension. He has left this earth and put his servants in charge. But they can not slack off, they have jobs to do. Jesus never said when he would return but he does tell his followers to watch out for his return.

It could be that Jesus uses both the analogies, found together in Mark's Gospel, to drive home his point about being watchful for his return. If one lesson was not enough for those around him to understand; then having the second story helps to make an impact and emphasise that God's people need to continue to keep awake.

To Ponder

  • What does it mean for the people of God to be asleep?
  • How do you encourage yourself and others to keep watch for God's return?
  • How do you feel about God's return? Excited, frightened, impatient, or what? Why?

Bible notes author

Bx Belshaw

Bx Belshaw is currently serving as a families and youth worker for St John's Methodist Church Conwy. This is her first role having completed her degree in theology at Cliff College last year.