Wednesday 25 April 2012

Bible Book:

"When they bring you to trial and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what you are to say; but say whatever is given you at that time, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit." (v. 11)

Mark 13:5-13 Wednesday 25 April 2012

25 April is the feast day of St Mark. The writer of the shortestGospel is thought to be the Mark who accompanied Paul on some ofhis missionary journeys and the John Mark of Acts12:12, 25 - the son of a pious woman whose house in Jerusalemwas a meeting place for Christians. Traditionally, Mark has beenidentified with the young man who ran way naked when Jesus wasarrested in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark14:51-52), but this is possibly unreliable.

Mark's Gospel, which draws on the experiences of Peter, has stronglinks with the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, and whilst this hasbeen challenged by some scholars, it is thought to be the earliest,and a main source of the other two.

Today's passage is not easy to interpret. Jesus speaks to his fourclosest disciples about sufferings to come. He warns of falseprophets, who will claim to be him, and will lead people astray.There may be a contemporary situation here that we know nothingabout. There are warnings of conflicts actual and anticipated,earthquakes and famines. Such things are features of Old Testamentprophecy, but Jesus cautions the disciples that they are not theend, nor even the beginning of the end. They may be precursors ofthe sufferings that were believed to precede the end, which wereseen as being like birth pangs.

The warnings extend to the things that the disciples, and those whocame after them, might suffer as Christians (verses 9-12). Verse 10stands out as a reminder of their purpose.

Despite such sufferings, verse 13 offers words of encouragement andassurance.

To Ponder

Have you ever suffered because of your Christianfaith? If so, how did you deal with it?

How do you react to those who see evidence ofGod's judgement in natural disasters? Or those who see them asevidence that there is no God?

What are your thoughts about the end of allthings?

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