Sunday

3 December 2017

Mark 13:24-37

“Then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.” (v. 26)

Psalm: Psalm 80


Background

At the very beginning of the season of Advent, when the preparations for Christmas are all around us and Christians and others are looking forward to celebrating the birth of Christ, it can be difficult to read the doom and gloom contained in this chapter of Mark's Gospel. But these sayings of Jesus are gathered here for a purpose.

The Jewish people had suffered persecutions and dangers throughout their history and their prophets had frequently predicted horrors that were still to come. The only way that their world could ever be changed would be on that great Day of the Lord, when God would step in and wreak vengeance on the evil ones and save those who had faithfully followed God's way. There had been occasions in their history when they believed that it had happened, but there was still one great day to come when things would be made right for ever. The language they used to describe these events is prophetic, visionary and poetic.

In this collection of sayings, Jesus uses familiar language to predict the time when he will return to make all things new. He gives no time, no date and no specific instructions for preparing for that day. Earlier in the chapter he warns that some people will claim to know exactly what will happen and when, and events did take place after his death that seemed to predict that the great Day of the Lord was coming soon. But we are still here. Perhaps we need to use our own poetic language to express what those prophecies mean for us today?

Should we be afraid when that great day comes?
Will we be ready when that great day comes?
Will we be working when that great day comes?
Will it be a great surprise when that great day comes?
What will Jesus look like, when that great day comes?
Will he come with angels, when that great day comes?
Will the clouds be glorious when that great day comes?
Will all heaven be open when that great day comes?

We can never know the timing, when that great day comes.
We shall have no early warning when that great day comes.
So we must be watching, waiting, working well
   at reinstating life and hope for all creation, when that great day comes.


To Ponder

  • What is your interpretation of the idea of Jesus coming again?
  • What language would you use to describe that to someone else?

Bible notes author

Marjorie Dobson

Marjorie Dobson is a local preacher and a writer of hymns, prayers, poetry and short dramatic pieces for use in worship. She particularly enjoys writing character pieces - 'getting under the skin of the real person that hides in the shadows of a good story'.