The Gospel of Mark - Chapter 13, v.12:
Jesus Speaks About the Future
He continued, “A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed. 13 And everyone will hate you because you are my followers. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
14 The day is coming when you will see the sacrilegious object that causes desecration standing where he should not be.” (Reader, pay attention!) “Then those in Judea must flee to the hills. 15 A person out on the deck of a roof must not go down into the house to pack. 16 A person out in the field must not return even to get a coat. 17 How terrible it will be for pregnant women and for nursing mothers in those days. 18 And pray that your flight will not be in winter. 19 For there will be greater anguish in those days than at any time since God created the world. And it will never be so great again. 20 In fact, unless the Lord shortens that time of calamity, not a single person will survive. But for the sake of his chosen ones he has shortened those days. 21 Then if anyone tells you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah,’ or ‘There he is,’ don’t believe it. 22 For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God’s chosen ones. 23 Watch out! I have warned you about this ahead of time! 24 At that time, after the anguish of those days,
the sun will be darkened, the moon will give no light,
25 the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
26 Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds with great power and glory. 27 And he will send out his angels to gather his chosen ones from all over the world—from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven. 28 Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branches bud and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near. 29 In the same way, when you see all these things taking place, you can know that his return is very near, right at the door. 30 I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene before all these things take place. 31 Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear. 32 However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows. 33 And since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert!
34 “The coming of the Son of Man can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. When he left home, he gave each of his slaves instructions about the work they were to do, and he told the gatekeeper to watch for his return. 35 You, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know when the master of the household will return—in the evening, at midnight, before dawn, or at daybreak. 36 Don’t let him find you sleeping when he arrives without warning. 37 I say to you what I say to everyone: Watch for him!”
About today's contributor . . . John taught Spanish for a few years before entering into full-time ministry. He and his wife, Sara live in the Financial district and they have two grown kids.
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Not exactly a cheery passage from Jesus, is it?! The cross is getting close now and I have to think his imminent ordeal is weighing on him heavily. I'm aware that most scholars think he's talking here about the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans that would happen in 70 AD (which is a pretty amazing bit of prophecy, actually!) but it also seems to have end-of-days implications too. In any case, Jesus portrays a future time when the very worst of humanity - deception, betrayal and hatred - comes bubbling up in times of overwhelming hardship. He seems to be saying, "Don't be surprised when things get tough -- and keep your eye on the end of the story!" It's both painfully realistic and kind-of hopeful at the same time. Yes, there is horror and hardship - but ultimately, Jesus really will come near. He really will gather us to himself. And the goodness of his words really will endure long after the trauma is over.
How about you? What stood out in this passage? How did it strike you?
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Reading Tips . . .
Start by asking God to interact with you
Ask for a fresh perspective
Expect to be challenged in your assumptions
Try imagining yourself in the story
Slow down and pay attention to your feelings, thoughts and reactions
When something bothers you, talk to God about it
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