Wednesday 25 April 2018

Bible Book:

“The one who endures to the end will be saved.” (v. 13)

Mark 13:5-13 Wednesday 25 April 2018

Psalm: Psalm 148


Taking a break from the dense theology of Romans, we celebrate the festival of Mark the Evangelist with part of his chapter 13, which is perhaps the most difficult section of this usually terse, urgent and immediate narrative. (“Immediately” is one of Mark’s favourite words.) Jesus is in a reflective mood, contrasting with the ‘action man’ image most of Mark’s Gospel has so far portrayed, rushing hither and thither.

This discourse, in some ways more like what we find in John’s Gospel than Mark’s, is prompted by Jesus’s announcement that the great temple building would not last for ever (Mark 13:20). It would be completely destroyed. In the preceding chapters (Mark 11.27 – 12:44), Jesus has been scathing about the powers that be in the temple-centred religious system. They and the premises from which they wielded power would be swept away. It was probably this attack on the temple (as it appeared to be), really starting with the fracas in the Gentiles’ Court when the traders’ stalls were overturned (Mark 11.15-19), which made the authorities finally determined to get rid of this troublesome rabbi.

However, Jesus turns from the specifics of the temple’s fate to more general apocalyptic talk. Today’s passage is mild compared with the lurid stuff later in the chapter. However, they give us the themes Jesus wants to emphasise:

  • Keep alert and watchful for the coming of the Lord.
  • Beware of false claims to be him returning; there will be many.
  • Don’t panic when there are wars and natural disasters; these will happen but the end may still be some way off.
  • Christ’s followers have much to face before the final triumph.
  • God’s Spirit will be with them, but there will be trials, betrayal and suffering.

Essentially, it’s a call for patient, faithful endurance and lasting faith in God.

To Ponder

  • What are ‘the signs’ of our times? How do Jesus’ themes give you support and/or comfort?
  • Who might be the false claimants in the contemporary world?
  • Do you really want the end of time to come soon, or would you rather that the Lord held off longer? Why?
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