Mark 13:1-13, Our Text this Week

Remember to visit the Prayer Wall…lets continue to keep each other in prayer.  Also, don’t forget to visit the links provided in the post below if you desire to help in some way during the crisis in Myanmar and China.

I was so woefully behind last week, I’m sorry for that.  Sometimes other aspects of life and the commitments I have may impede my ability to do this…so don’t be offended or give up if I get behind or miss one of these.  Ok?

This week we’ll be reading Mark 13:1-13.  It’s actually just the first part of a sermon Jesus teaches through the whole chapter (all 37 verses).  It’s the longest teaching that Mark’s gospel records…so it must be pretty important.

This sermon is traditionally called the Sermon on the Mount of Olives.  The whole thrust of this chapter is apocalyptic in nature.  Jesus is talking about things that will take place later.  The big question is, HOW much later?  Some view this whole sermon as a forecast of the events of 70ad, where the forces of Rome destroyed Jerusalem and the temple, and it changed the face of Judaism from that day forward.   The only problem with that view is that some of what Jesus describes later on in this sermon (v24-27) didn’t get fulfilled at that time…at least, they didn’t get fulfilled as literally as the first part of the prediction was fulfilled.

That’s been puzzling for a long time.  Some hold a view that everything Jesus is saying here is talking about future events that will surround the Great Tribulation.  My problem with that is that it demands we rip this sermon completely out of the surrounding context, which we’ve pointed out is all about the end of the temple system of worship.

Others believe this is talking about BOTH the events of 70ad and the future events of the end of the age.  I’m closer to being convinced by that stance.  It’s also possible that this is a prophecy that has multiple levels of fulfillment…sort of like the events spoken of are almost cyclical, and there is a first and secondary fulfillment possible.  I could agree with that too.

In all of it, I’m not willing to get so dogmatic about my views that I would stake anything important on it.

My thing is, while contemplating future events is really interesting and sensational…it can also be a distraction from what the Bible stresses more frequently, and that is, how we live out our faith day by day.

As you look over the first 13 verses, we realize that Jesus describes events that may feel like the end, but are only the circumstances that will be present in the age betweenJesus’ assencion, and His return.  That means, this time we live in right now…in our day by day lives, we are facing these types of things in the world around us.  So my question is, what things do we learn about living in this time from these first 13 verses?  What does Jesus tell us and warn us about?  What can we take from these verses as encouragments about daily life in the 21st century?

I’ll be interested to read your thoughts on this. 

4 comments

  1. How do these verses apply to us? With all that is going on in the world: China, Mynamar, Iran, Iraq, prices at your local BP or at Publix, one could easily be overwhelmed. It wouldn’t be difficult to buy into the normal LaHaye-ian idea that “the end is nigh”. Time to buy that dehydrated food and dig a bomb shelter.

    However, I find it really interesting that Jesus said, “this is not the end, this is just normal stuff.” Plus, I don’t think the things listed are linear, meaning it’s not a timeline. The earthquakes and famines are normal but when they haul you downtown for your Jesus Freak T-Shirt, well then that’s different.

    I would think that if that where the case then when Jesus began verse 9 and 10 he would have said something like, “But when they….” or something similar. He didn’t, he said “and they will ….” that shows a continuation of his idea. Basically, here is what is going on in the world (wars, famines, earthquakes), and here is what will happen with you.

    But Jesus answers all of it with, ” don’t lose your head and don’t panic…. stay with it… you won’t be sorry.” (thank you Eugene Peterson).

    Isn’t that the answer, regardless of the century? There have always been disasters, and Christians somewhere have always been persecuted. This is the normal order of things. But in it all, “don’t panic, don’t lose your head, don’t say the sky is falling and our God has forgotten us. Stick it out, you won’t be sorry, you will be saved.”

  2. I’m definitely tracking with you here John! Sometimes I worry that in our excitement over the sensational, apocalyptic stuff, we forget the basic message Jesus was giving us when he made those forecasts… “Don’t panic!”

  3. I think Jesus is telling the disciples, as well as us, (since we are His disciples, only in a different time period), to trust in Him and that He is with us through all of these difficult circumstances and to not give up. Jesus also wants us to keep telling people about Him and what He has done for us because He wants to save everyone! He loves all of us the same!!!

    Jesus reminds us of what is ahead (His Kingdom!!!) and to not forget this during these difficult times.

  4. I believe Jesus is telling us not to be concerned about the future and telling us we cannot understand such things. He says that Heaven and Earth shall pass. Wow.

    In northern Alberta there are lots of lakes, created by the retreating glaciers at the end of the last ice age. Around these lakes are rocks that were unearthed dating back to the Precambrian, up to four billion years old.

    How can a man comprehend such things?

    It is faith in God the Father, belief in Jesus Christ as the only way to the Father that gives meaning to my life and helps me to understand where we fit in the grand scheme of things. (im glad we Rob teaches not to get too hung up on numbers)

    Today Paul’s quote was on the verse of the day link. It reads ““But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” (Acts 20:24) ”

    Those words seem to simplify things for me. We could get caught up in trying to understand the grand plan. But it seems not so important for my life right now, right here.

    It seems so very very sad to me, that some voices will use data, be it true, or false, to turn people away from God; They are saying that there is no point, we are all insignificant in the universe, that we could not matter to God in a universe so old, so large, so incomprehensible.

    My hope and prayer is that my words and thoughts, will only lead others to the conclusion that it is only God the Father that brings any true meaning to life and existence. I believe that we need the help of God and that without Him we are lost. Thank God that he sent his Son, Jesus Christ our Savior, to simplify things for us a bit and show us the way to the Father.

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