Thursday after the Twenty-Third Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Posted on November 8, 2018 byunder
Scripture: St. Mark 13:1-37 (NKJV)
13:1 Then as He went out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!”
2 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone shall be left upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”
3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked Him privately, 4 “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign when all these things will be fulfilled?”
5 And Jesus, answering them, began to say: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 6 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and will deceive many. 7 But when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet. 8 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines and troubles. These are the beginnings of sorrows.
9 “But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them. 10 And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations. 11 But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.
12 “Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 13 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.
14 “So when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not ” (let the reader understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 15 Let him who is on the housetop not go down into the house, nor enter to take anything out of his house. 16 And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. 17 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 18 And pray that your flight may not be in winter. 19 For in those days there will be tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be.
20 “And unless the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake, whom He chose, He shortened the days. 21 Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘Look, He is there!’ do not believe it. 22 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 23 But take heed; see, I have told you all things beforehand.
24 “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; 25 the stars of heaven will fall, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
26 “Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. 27 And then He will send His angels, and gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest part of earth to the farthest part of heaven.
28 “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. 29 So you also, when you see these things happening, know that it is near—at the doors! 30 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.
32 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is. 34 It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch.
35 “Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning—36 lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. 37 And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!”
We’ve been hearing this week about the rewards that await us in Heaven if we remain faithful here on Earth. Is it hard to wait for those rewards? Do you want some assurance that the Last Day is surely drawing near? Jesus gives us those assurances in today’s lesson. He gives us signs that continually point to His coming at the end of the age.
The signs are everywhere. Signs in nature. Signs in society. Signs in the Church. To the unbeliever they all make it seem as if the world is spinning out of control. But to the believer they all cry out, “Christ is coming! Watch!”
Instead of viewing natural disasters as signs of God’s apathy or of God’s malice toward us, let us view them as part of His grand design to bring sinners to repentance before He comes in final judgment. Instead of viewing the decay of society as something to fear, let us view it as a cause to give thanks for the truth and love that remain in the Christian Church. Instead of viewing the persecution of Christians and the false doctrine within the Church as failures of the Gospel, let us view them as reasons to hope for the safety and the perfection of the life that awaits us.
The signs we see being fulfilled all around us are harbingers of Christ’s faithfulness. Nearly everything He foretold leading up to the end of the age has already come to pass—evidence that our rewards, too, are soon to be revealed; evidence that Jesus’ word will never pass away.
We pray: O Lord, as we see the signs of Your coming unfolding around us, keep us both from carnal security and from despair. Comfort us with Your faithful promises and come quickly to save us! Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.