Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. “Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’” Mark 13, verses 33-37
I promise: we’re almost done with the verses from Mark that talk about watching out for the end times. But riddle me this, Batman: do you think just anyone would spend this much time talking about such a subject if it weren’t important? No, I’m not talking about you or I. Of course we’re talking about Jesus. But have you considered all the rhetorical pictures He has painted to communicate this message clearly? He spent all of chapter 13 talking about it.
First Jesus talks about how not one stone will be left of the Temple. He describes an inconceivable vision of extreme destruction, one that the Disciples find hard to absorb. Then Jesus talks about watching out and being constantly aware, of being on guard so that events (and their fulfillment) do not come as a surprise. In fact, He mentions watching or keeping guard three times just in Chapter 13 alone.
Then Jesus talks about how the persecution of the end times will split families, about how it will be the greatest test man has ever undergone. About how there will be signs in the heavens and miracles that won’t be explainable. He discusses His return and how, just before it, there will be both signs pointing to its inevitability and false prophets who try to distract believers from paying attention. Jesus describes in detail how He will return in glory, and about how He has told us all we need to know to be ready to see Him appear.
Finally, Jesus closes, reminding us that He’s not kidding, that these things will really happen because His Words are reliable and true. He implores us yet again to remain vigilant, to watch out and be ready for it can happen at any time. He candidly says that even He doesn’t know the specific moment. He only knows that He will return.
Do you think Jesus would spend so much time talking about this if it didn’t matter a great deal? I’ve mentioend here before about how my church has a motto, “Eternity Matters Most.” It’s derived from Mark 8:36, which says “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” Having everything you think you want means nothing if you don’t have eternity with Jesus. A few chapters down the road, Jesus reiterates that theme, imploring us through all of chapter 13 to watch, be ready, and look forward to the day when He returns to make all things new. He does so because it’s a big deal, because it’s the penultimate point of His time here. Jesus spends so much time telling us these things because having us with Him in eternity is why He came in the first place. Because our eternity matters most to the king of all eternity
Lord Jesus, my eternity matters most. I will believe in You, follow only You, and be ready for Your return.
Read Mark 14, verses 1-11.