Almighty God, You are the righteous judge and Lord of all. I bow before Your loving authority and power.
Read MARK 13:1-13
 As he 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.  All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhy do you think Jesus is telling his disciples this (13)?
How could God let it happen? Whether it’s personal tragedy or large-scale disaster, we wonder what God is doing, how this can be in his plan.
For God’s people the temple was far more than a place of worship. While the temple was there, God had not abandoned them. So Jesus’ words must have been shattering to his first disciples, especially coming from the person to whom they looked to restore the kingdom to Israel.
Sometimes God may take away the supports we rely on and shatter our preconceptions so that we rely on him alone and learn to follow him, trusting that he knows what he’s doing.
For the first readers of Mark’s Gospel it must have been important to hear this. They had seen the destruction of the temple, and were experiencing persecution. Why was God allowing it? Had they made a mistake in following Jesus? Mark reminds them that this, too, God knew; Jesus had said such things would happen. God’s word to us when life is hard is the same as Jesus’ words to his disciples then: stand firm (13).
What does “standing firm” mean for you at the moment? If it’s a challenge for you, ask God for his help.
Lord, show me what it means for me now to stand firm for You and then help me to do it.
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