WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 8
SCRIPTURE: Mark 13
As we begin our chapter today, I want you to think about the Statue of Liberty and the White House. These two American objects are symbols of our country. In our chapter today, Jesus speaks about the temple, which was the symbol for the Jewish people. Granted, the temple has the spiritual component that Lady Liberty and the White House do not. However, imagine someone you respected, admired, and held in high regard speak of these American icons being destroyed. We would be focused on the “how” and “when.” In verses 1-4, the disciples are imagining what Jesus is predicting. They want to know “when” and ask for the details. We do the same thing. I won’t go into the history of the temple for the sake of time and space, but history tells us that the temple was destroyed in AD 70 when Rome destroyed the temple and the city of Jerusalem. Some of the disciples were alive when this event took place. For other Gospel accounts, look at Matthew 24:1-25; Luke 21:5-24.
In verse 3, Jesus is at the Mount of Olives and begins to answer the disciples question of “when.” Some scholars call this the Olivet discourse. In Zechariah 14:1-4 the Messiah or Jesus will return here in His 2nd coming to set up His Kingdom. We read Jesus predict the coming days (in their lifetime) as well as the last days (verses 5-23) and even His return (verse 24-31). Note that these are not necessarily in chronological order. Jesus warned the disciples about the future so that they could learn how to live in the present. The same is true for us. Jesus told about events that will happen and some of these events have already happened. However we need to understand that people in every generation claim to know when these events will take place and make predictions. We must remember that this will happen on God’s timetable and not man’s. As Jesus said in verse 5, “do not be misled.” Jesus will repeat another warning at the end of the chapter.
There are two things to note in Mark 13, the last days and the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ. The main point of Jesus was to prepare the disciples to be watchful and prepared for His coming. If we will faithfully follow, obey, and serve Him, we will be ready whenever that day will be.
Jesus gives some signs to point to these two moments. There will be “false prophets and false messiahs” who will deceive in verse 6. There will be wars and rumors of wars, but they are just the beginning (verse 7). Then will come earthquakes and famines (verse 8). Christians will be persecuted and arrested, but when this happens, we are told to preach Jesus and let the Spirit speak in and through us. (verse 9-11). Families will be divided and Christ-followers will be hated. But persevere believer! This sure doesn’t sound like a “healthy, wealthy, happy life” or what so many popular people are preaching today, does it?
Verse 14 is a big one. It refers to events in Israel’s history (see 2 Chronicles 36 and Daniel 9:27; 11:30, 31) when enemies came into the temple and did unholy things there. This event is also tied to the future 7 year tribulation in Revelation where the Anti-Christ will proclaim himself god. These days will be unlike anything our world has ever seen, and let’s remember that our LORD is warning us of these days in verses 15-22. Just for the sake of clarity, go back and reread 21 and 22 again. This anti-Christ will be a charmer and a deceiver, so pay attention.
Mark points us to the clouds to see these signs of the true Messiah’s return. We won’t have to wonder if someone is the LORD Jesus as we read in verses 24-27. Everyone will see Him and will look to the sky! Jesus repeats to us that no one knows when this will take place again in verses 32-36. He tells us again to be waiting, watching, and to be prepared. See Matthew 24:36-51 and Luke 21:34-38.
“I say to you what I say to everyone. Watch for Him!” Mark 13:37