Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Mark 13:20-37 - Be ready

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Jesus has been talking about the distress that is to come on Jerusalem in 70 AD, and here in Mark 13:20-37 he says that it will be so severe that if the time of trouble wasn't cut short, nobody would survive. And he warns against false messiahs and false prophets.

He also mentions a time of his returning, when he will draw people to him from all over the earth and in heaven too. A great gathering-in will come at a time when even the sun, moon and stars will fail. Nobody knows when this will happen, but he mentions signs and when these are seen the end won't be far behind. So he says we should be on our guard, we should keep watch and we should be ready.

Be prepared for the Master's return.

It's easy to argue endlessly about the precise meaning of Jesus' words. Is he talking about something that happened in the past or something that is still to happen, or both? But for practical purposes it really makes very little difference. Jesus makes it very clear in these verses that he may invade our space in a major way at any time [Tweet it!], and there will be no time to prepare for that.

The time to prepare is now, while we still have time. Even if we face only the same things as past generations (death by violence, accident, through disease or because of old age), we should still prepare now. We cannot prepare after we die, so now is our only certain chance - today!  Read verses 36 and 37 again. Don't be asleep when he comes. Watch!

How are we to prepare?

One way (and it's a good way) is to use the time we have to become more like Jesus himself. We will never have the fullness of his power and authority, we'll never attain his level of insight, and our love will always be an uncertain shadow of his. But let's grow in those things! Our preparation should consist of lovingly serving others, regarding ourselves as least in the kingdom, growing in the fruit of the Spirit and being obedient to his commands. Especially we are to love one another and go into all the world with the good news that Jesus has set us free and wants to do the same for everyone else too.

Then, when that day comes and we finally meet him, he will see that we have been actively following him, and we won't need to say, 'Lord, Lord', and hope for the best.

Be ready. Be ready today.

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