Mark 13: Dark days

I am never sure how to approach conversations about the “end of days”. A lot of that is because I don’t know where people stand in their beliefs about these things. In my opinion, there are more important things to be talking about than when/how or in what order Jesus’ return will happen. I know this: Jesus is coming again and when he does this world won’t know what hit it. Because his second coming will not be like his first coming, it will not be quiet and meek and gentle and mild. No one will write a song called Silent Night to talk about Jesus’ second appearance on the global stage. He will appear with fanfare and shouting, with power and proclamation and the earth with tremble before him.

For me, thinking about Jesus’ second coming is more about the command Jesus gives his disciples in verse 9 “Be on your guard”; and again in verse 23 “And you must watch!”; and again in verse 33 “Watch! Be alert! For you don’t know when the time is coming.”

Be alert. Watch. Be on guard. Jesus tell the parable of the 10 Bridesmaids and their lamps in Matthew 25 (I know, we’re not there yet), but I can’t help but be fearful of that parable. 10 virgins go out to wait for the arrival of the groom. 5 of them are wise and bring extra oil for their lamps, 5 are foolish and do not bring extra oil. When the call comes for them to prepare themselves to receive the groom, the 5 foolish virgins find their lamps without fuel and beg the 5 wise virgins to share. But the 5 wise virgins know that if they share their oil, no one will have enough. So the 5 foolish virgins have to go and get more oil, and while they are away the groom arrives and the wedding party starts…and the 5 foolish virgins are left out in the dark.

Jesus gives us enough understanding of what is going to come at the end of days so that we can approach that time with eyes open, so as to not be caught off guard. That’s the point of what he is telling his disciples here. Don’t get lulled to sleep. If the disciples, who were standing there with Jesus needed that encouragement, then how much more do we 2,000 years after his death and ascension?

My friends, don’t spend your time trying to figure out the meaning of these cryptic signs that Jesus gives to us. Instead recognize that we are one day closer to Jesus’ return than we were yesterday, which means that we have one less day to tell our neighbours, our families, our friends, our co-workers or our hair-dressers about Jesus. It means that we have one less day to read the Bible, one less day to seek God’s face in prayer, one less day to fulfill the mission that he has entrusted us with.

Be alert! Be watchful! Be on guard!

Happy reading

  • What was familiar from this passage of scripture? What was something I already knew?
  • What was new from this piece of scripture? What was something that really stood out for me that I have never paid attention to before?
  • Does Jesus appear in this passage of scripture?
  • How does this passage apply to my life, here and now? Do I need to do anything about it?
  • What prayer would I offer up to God after reading this piece of scripture?

Tomorrow’s Reading: Matthew 24

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