CHECKING OUT MARK 13
Events of this last week alerted us to the devastating war in Israel. For many minds and hearts, questions and concerns arose. Are these the last days before Jesus’s return? Will God’s justice overturn the conflict against His nation, Israel, in this battle? What lies ahead for our nation and the possibility of wars moving forward? But, only God knows what is in store for Israel and ourselves.
Reading the thirteenth chapter of Mark, Jesus' prophetic words focused on the temple destruction in Israel. This must have created alarm and possibly fear when hearing this news. For us, it may also stir those same feelings as we reckon with current happenings and his forecast for the future.
When Peter, James, John, and Andrew privately inquired about the timing of such a fatality, they wanted to know what sign they could look for to show the coming of this event. However, Jesus began to expound on the tragedies that would grow beyond Israel affecting the whole world. It must have been beyond their imagination! They had barely begun to understand Jesus, His actions, and His deliverance for mankind. This revelation just didn’t seem to fit with all they were learning.
His telling was preparation for the calamities ahead, warning about deeper evil, and yet included instructions for peace. He warned that deceptions, expansive devastations, persecution, betrayal, and abuse would take place. His words seem heavy. I wonder if it was a blow to their belief in God.
It may seem purposeless and avoidable to us. However, Jesus says it must take place (vs 7). Why? It is our opportunity to tell the world about the good news of Jesus Christ and what He has done for us on the cross and through his resurrection. It is time for us to grow strong in the Lord so we are ready to declare His love, power, and glory in the hard times – now and in the future.
Jesus gave instructions to keep watch (vs 35) for what is ahead. Watch for deceivers (vs 23) staying focused and attuned to Him. He reminds us to have a mindset free of worry and panic. So what can we do about what lies ahead? Hebrews 12:1-2 (NLT) gives this instruction: “…let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.”
Beginning in verse 24 we are told that the anguish of these days will be followed by the the return of Jesus with angels to receive His followers out of the troubles. That will be amazing. Clouds ablaze with heavenly beings, Jesus appearing in beauty and magnificence as victor over sin and death.
Let’s remember what Jesus said in Mark 13:33: “Since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert!”
Let us praise God for His work on behalf of mankind, and the victory we know He has already won in the battles we face. Let us pray for the salvation of all people – and especially Israel.