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Learning to Wait

Mark 13:3-4

What a place for a tutorial!  The Mount of Olives was to be the place of His later ascension (Acts 1:12), and will be the site of His future return (Zechariah 14:4).  It had a great view of the temple, which Jesus had just predicted would be destroyed (Mark 13:1-2). The disciples believed what He had said about its destruction - but wanted to know 'when?'  They did not ask for a diary date but for another prophetic sign to assure them that God was 'on track' to keep His promise.

Deceivers Exploit Disorder

Mark 13:5-8

Politics and church history are littered with deceivers - people who claim what is not true, about themselves, others, the Bible or God.  Jesus is not talking to the crowds in these verses, but to the disciples, the future apostles.  His message to them, and through them to the church today and beyond, is to be at a high state of alert to identify deceivers.  Reject them and repudiate their false teaching (Proverbs 4:23-27).  It might seem harsh in these days of tolerance, but lies are like malignant viruses which can remain dormant for years, but be activated when we have low resistance of

Do Not Worry About What To Say

Mark 13:9-11

Persecution might make us run away, and/or make us cry out for the return of Christ.  Both may be right and echo the story of the Early Church spreading out with the gospel because of persecution (Acts 11:19).  But Jesus said, when others hate us because of Him, that is not the signal to retreat from the gospel, but to advance!  So, Jesus' instruction: "be on your guard", was not advice about our personal protection.  It echoes Mark 13:5, "Watch out that no-one deceives you".  A greater danger than death was that the gospel might be distorted (Galatians 1:6-9).  The discip

Loyal to Who?

Mark 13:12-13

Families are special! They should provide a secure place where we are loved, and we can love others freely, without fear.  When people repent and believe in the saving grace of Christ, they belong to another family as well; they are adopted into God's family (Ephesians 1:5), and He calls them 'His children' (Hebrews 2:13).  So, every believer has two families - a natural one and a spiritual one.  In God's creation design, there should be no conflict between the two - but when sin entered the world, we soon saw the first murder - brother on brother (Genesis 4:1-12).

Decisions in Persecution

Mark 13:14-15

Prophecy in the Bible can be as puzzling as viewing distant mountain ranges - it is difficult to work out if the peaks are close together or far apart. So, some of the Old Testament prophetic passages might refer to the destruction of Jerusalem in 587BC or AD70 or the Tribulation at the end of time; some refer to two or all three events even though the first two are separated by half a millennium and the last event is yet to come.  

Compassion for the Oppressed

Mark 13:17-20

The atrocities that accompanied the Temple desecrations of AD67 and 70 were not worth staying around for!  Nor will be the time of the Anti-Christ.  But fleeing for your life is a terror-filled experience too.  As has so often happened within living memory and in our generation, notably in Africa and the Balkans, central Asia and the Middle East - what the aggressors see as being justified, is sheer misery to many innocents caught up in the conflict.  

Be Prepared for Deception

Mark 13:21-23

It is Satan's nature to pursue his evil activities, right up until the day that Christ returns. Indeed Revelation 12:12 says, "Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them!  But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you!  He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short."  He does most of his evil work through people who believe that his lies are the truth: people who want the benefits he promises, not knowing that Satan only delivers destruction (John 10:10).    

Hope that Gives Courage to Endure

Mark 13:24-27

It is a common mistake to think that everything will continue as it always has (2 Peter 3:3-4).  Global warming is slightly shaking that assumption, but many think it will not really make much difference ... and so they continue as before.  But God has the right to do whatever He chooses, and that will include the way the night sky will undergo sudden change, and the sun (on which we depend for so much) will be switched off.

Look Beyond What You Can See

Mark 13:28-30

We learn much by observation. The repeated cycles of seasons and crops teach us what to expect next in the garden or the fields. In the same way, Jesus said, when some of His predictions are seen – the divinely authorised and scheduled cycle of events, leading up to the end of the world and His return, will have started.  We do not know when (Matthew 25:13), but we know what (Matthew 24:30) and Who (2 Timothy 1:12).

Words Which Last Forever

Mark 13:31

If we take Jesus' words seriously, we realise that this geophysical world (with its surrounding geophysical heavens) is only a temporary construction.