Signs of the Times
Almighty God, I know that all things are under Your command and control, so I needn’t worry about the future.
Read Mark 13:1-27
 As Jesus was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!”  “Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”  As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked him privately,  “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?”  Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you.  Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many.  When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.  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.  “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.  And the gospel must first be preached to all nations.  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.  “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death.  Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.  “When you see ‘the abomination that causes desolation’ standing where it does not belong-let the reader understand-then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.  Let no one on the housetop go down or enter the house to take anything out.  Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak.  How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers!  Pray that this will not take place in winter,  because those will be days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now-and never to be equaled again.  “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.  At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it.  For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.  So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.  “But in those days, following that distress, “‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light;  the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’  “At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.  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. Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION
ReflectWhat attitude or "stance" does Jesus commend here (5,23)?
So far, Jesus has been addressing his warnings primarily to those outside God’s kingdom. Now he warns the insiders–his disciples. Jesus’ response to the innocent comment about the Temple (1) was probably not what the disciples expected (2), but it led to a private conversation between four disciples and Jesus (3). Presumably the disciples believed that the destruction of the Temple would be the beginning of the end. They asked when that would be (4). The answer wasn’t simple! Jesus was teaching about two different things here: the destruction of the Temple (which would happen in 70 AD), and then the end of time itself. He didn’t name the day. Instead he taught them and us how to live faithfully whatever happened. We should watch out for deceivers (5). False messiahs will still come. Then we should be ready for persecution (9-11); thousands of Christians are martyred every year. And we should watch out for our closest relationships being stretched to the limit (12,13). All this was the experience of that generation as it is for many in ours today. Finally, Jesus looks to the end of time; there is hope! Earthly powers will fade (24) and he will return for his people.
Think of Christians experiencing persecution today. Pray that God will give them strength to stay faithful.
Lord Jesus, I don’t know if You’ll return in my lifetime but help me to be on guard and ready.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.