'...for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.' (v. 11)

Mark 13:5-13 Monday 26 April 2021

Psalm 148


Mark's Gospel  is commonly understood to have been written by the 'John Mark' we see in Acts of the Apostles (first in Acts 12:12). It is also thought  it is based on what he heard from Peter. 

How might we understand verses 5-8, which warn against being led astray, and also say it's a sign of the beginning of the birth pangs of God’s kingdom? Has Mark recorded Peter remembering what Jesus said so  we can scan the news looking for matches? While often popular, it seems to contradict verse 32 “But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

Instead verses 7 and 8 can be seen as a general description of what the world is like.  Has there ever been a point in time when these verses haven’t applied? Then the rest of the passage is what happens when we live through these events alive in the Holy Spirit. They are consequences of living differently in this world. If we are seen to live by the Holy Spirit, responding with the gifts and the fruits of the Spirit, then those who are powerful in the causes and responses to these events will be challenged by us.

Verse 5 and 6 say a response to those living in the Spirit – those who are working for peace, justice, hope, even life – is to try to lead them astray, distract them and undermine their love, faith and hope. Maybe it comes in the form of discouragement: encouraging them to feel it is too late and nothing can be done – they just have to look after themselves.

Verses 9 to 13 speak of other reactions to challenging the status quo, many of which we see in the experiences of Peter,  Paul and others in the Book of Acts. Again, our specific experiences will vary. However, it does seem common that we need to expect resistance when we choose to be part of the Holy Spirit’s work. Yet with that there is reassurance that we will not be alone, we will not not be abandoned and our  persistence will win through (even if not in the eyes of the world). The promise is that when we are experiencing resistance, because we show that we are alive in the Spirit as we respond to events,  the Holy Spirit will speak through us and lead us through endurance to salvation.


To Ponder:

  • Have you experienced the Holy Spirit speaking through you? What was it like? What was the response?
  • Thinking about your experience of the Covid-19 pandemic, what do you believe the Holy Spirit is saying to you and to the world? What response is that getting?
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