My Lord, I pray for those affected by wars and natural disasters. Let them know of Your presence and comfort.
Read Mark 13:1–27
The Destruction of the Temple and Signs of the End Times
13 As Jesus was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!”
2 “Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”
3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked him privately, 4 “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?”
5 Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 6 Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many. 7 When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 8 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.
9 “You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them. 10 And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. 11 Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.
12 “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 13 Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.
14 “When you see ‘the abomination that causes desolation’[a] standing where it[b] does not belong—let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 15 Let no one on the housetop go down or enter the house to take anything out. 16 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 17 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 18 Pray that this will not take place in winter, 19 because those will be days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now—and never to be equaled again.
20 “If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect, whom he has chosen, he has shortened them. 21 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. 22 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 23 So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.
24 “But in those days, following that distress,
“‘the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
25 the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’[c]
26 “At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27 And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.
a Mark 13:14 Daniel 9:27; 11:31; 12:11
b Mark 13:14 Or he
c Mark 13:25 Isaiah 13:10; 34:4
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectIs it hard for you to stand firm when people treat you poorly because of your faith?
I wonder if the disciples were surprised by Jesus’ response to their question. They only asked about the destruction of the Temple that Jesus had just predicted (2) – and got a whole sermon on the end of the world! Some scholars believe that this chapter relates mainly to end times, but others consider that much of this passage is about the more imminent fall of Jerusalem. It is confusing!
What does come through strongly, though, is that we must be careful not to be deceived (5, 9, 23). When Jesus does return, it will be obvious to all (26).
Many have tried to apply this and other scriptures about Jesus’ second coming to things going on in the world. Christians have been doing this for two thousand years and they haven’t been right yet! In the days of the internet and 24-hour news, we hear of more “wars and rumors of wars” (7) than ever before. There are earthquakes, famines and all manner of natural disasters (8). We live in uncertain times.
We also face opposition. Standing firm as a Christian is becoming harder and more costly (9–13). We must remember that we have hope; one day the suffering will end and Jesus will return and take us to spend eternity with Him (26,27).
Regardless of when the world is ending, even our ordinary walk with God is not always easy. What are you struggling with? Write it down, crumple up the paper, and choose to give the issue to God.
King Jesus, please give me the grace to stand firm when my faith is challenged.