Thursday, November 15, 2012

Speak of the End, Jesus the Prophet Mark 13:1-8

Jesus rightly spoke as a prophet when he told His friends about the future with certainty in Mark 13:1-8. 
He told his friends with authority that the temple would come down in Mark 13:1-2.  His authority was validated when a key part of his prediction came true; but there remains a part of Jesus' vision that will still be fulfilled in the future.  History teaches us the Jerusalem Temple fell in AD 70; as Rome seiged Jerusalem the people of Israel fled into nearly every corner of the world to survive.  Today a foundation wall of the temple remains authenticating part of Jesus vision; but not everything Jesus predicted has come to pass yet.
But not everything Jesus spoke about in Mark 13 has come to pass.  Jesus' friends asked a key question in Mark 13:3-4; how will we know if it is time?

Jesus didn't directly answer their question.  He gave warning about those who would come claiming to be him Mark 13:5-6.  And He named wars and natural disasters as the beginning birth paigns Mark 13:7-8.  But he didn't say how we could be certain of the day or the hour.
He pushed on teaching of the risks and uncertainty of following the Son of Man in a world that will pass away in Mark 13:9-30.  He was even so bold as to declare that as everything else would disappear but that His Word would remain in Mark 13:31.
Does Jesus answer leave things unsettled?  Yes.  Jesus' predictions makes ears tingle and sends imaginations running.  For centuries Christians have pondered Jesus' words unsure how anyone can really know when the end will come. 
Some point to many things today as signs of the soon coming end.  Others look and just wonder if these are really the right signs or not.  We all know God's Word teaches us that Jesus will come again--but how can we know if this is the hour.  Look ahead to Jesus' words in Mark 13:32-36 about God the Father alone knowing.  Truth is there's a mystery here that we can't break through.  Many have tried to explain and interpret; but the mystery remains. 
Faithfully living with a mystery: In about 5 years of bloging the most read post I've written is about Mark 13:1-8.  Read through the the text; there's a lot to talk and pray about.  Jesus Words to his friends invite speculation--but they also invite believers to hope--to hope for the day when Christ will return; to hope for the day when the troubles of this earth will pass away--to hope for the day when God will be visibly at the very center of all things.
Imagining Doomsday and the Apocalypse can make for a very dramatic movie or story.  But for believers it ought to move us to hope.  We have hope because the kingdom of God has come close to us in the person of Jesus. We have hope in the midst of a decaying fallen world it's good to know of God's Word will not pass away.  We have hope because His Word reveals love and mercy for all who cling to Him in faith.
Pax, John

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