by Robert M. Solomon

Day 49

Read Mark 13:1-25

Like gawking tourists, the disciples were very impressed by the size and beauty of the temple in Jerusalem (v. 1). But Jesus told them that it would all be reduced to rubble one day (v. 2). This was fulfilled in AD 70, when the Romans destroyed the city and its temple after a major Jewish revolt. The disciples questioned Jesus about the future and, in what became known as the Olivet Discourse (because Jesus delivered it on the Mount of Olives, v. 3), He painted a picture of events that would follow, until His glorious return. Peter, James, and John (the inner circle of disciples) were joined by Andrew, and they privately asked Jesus two questions: When would these things happen? What would be the signs that they are happening (v. 4)?

Christians should take heart that God would be in control. Christ would return to establish His rule and order

Jesus painted a disturbing picture, spelling out some of the signs that would mark ″the beginning of birth pains″ (v. 8). Just as a woman felt distressing labour pangs announcing the impending delivery of her child, so too would there be signs that the end was approaching. There would be false Christs (v. 6), wars (v. 7), earthquakes, and famines (v. 8), and believers would face tribulation and persecution (v. 9). God would enable His people to preach the gospel to all nations (v. 10). He would not abandon them, and ″he who stands firm to the end will be saved″ (v. 13).Worse things would happen. The ″abomination that causes desolation″ referred to historical anti-Christs such as Antiochus IV Epiphanes, a Greek ruler who killed thousands of Jews and desecrated the Jerusalem Temple in 167 BC by sacrificing pigs on its altar and installing a heathen idol in its sanctuary (v. 14; cf. Daniel 9:27; 11;31; 12:11). There would also be future anti-Christs who would bring unimaginable desecration and suffering (vv. 14-20)-only the mercy of God would prevent total annihilation. False Christs and prophets would continue to plague the world and the church and ″perform signs and wonders″ (vv. 21-23). The followers of Christ (″the elect″) were warned against being taken in.

Then strange cosmic disturbances would take place. Jesus pointed the disciples to the prophecies in Isaiah 13:10 and 34:4, where the skies would become the scene of alarming sights: sun and moon both darkening, stars falling from the sky, and other heavenly bodies shaking (vv. 24-25). The history of the world would hurtle towards a terrifying end, with trouble on earth and turmoil in the skies. But Christians should take heart that God would be in control. Christ would return to establish His rule and order.

Think through:

The Jews thought highly of the magnificent-looking temple, but Jesus is greater than the temple (Matthew 12:6). How important is it to keep our eyes on Jesus rather than on anything else (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:18), no matter how impressive?

What abiding practical lessons are there in Mark 13? Turn your thoughts into prayer.




About Author

Robert Solomon served as Bishop of The Methodist Church in Singapore from 2002-2012. He has an active itinerant preaching and teaching ministry in Singapore and abroad. He is the author of more than 25 books, including The Race, The Conscience, The Sermon of Jesus, and Faithful to the End.

Author of Journey Through Series:

Our Daily Bread Journey Through® Series is a publication of Our Daily Bread Ministries.

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