Scripture: Mark 13:1-37
Observation: Jesus talks about the destruction of Jerusalem, which would be brought about due to Israel’s failure to produce fruit and their hostility towards the Messiah. When this persecution happens, Jesus assures them that God will fill them with the Holy Spirit so they don’t need to worry. He also talks about his second coming.
Application: Remember a few years ago when a group claimed that the world was coming to an end and Jesus was returning? It’s not uncommon – it seems like a new group of people devises a new apocalypse date every few months; they prepare, they set up a stake out, and they wait…and wait…and wait. (Apparently some people even use these proposed “rapture” dates to make a profit during a “Second Coming sale.” Trust me, that’s worth the 30 seconds watch for a good laugh.)
Normally, these groups will get some media coverage, and pundits and social media alike will call them “crazy.” While it’s never right to label people, I think that after reading this section in Mark, we can assume that “crazy” is a fairly safe term for anyone who believes they can predict the future. It turns out that even the Son of God himself doesn’t know when that time is:
“However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.” (verse 32)
Only the Father knows when Jesus will return. And here’s the thing about Jesus’ return, or his “second coming” – it’s a pretty big deal and something we definitely want to unpack together. Basically, Jesus shares that he will return to earth a second time (hence the term “the second coming”), and when he does, all the promises of God’s Kingdom will be fulfilled. (Sounds good to me!) Jesus will defeat Satan and his angels, and people who don’t yet believe in him will experience eternal judgment. (Sounds pretty intense!) However, people who do have a relationship with him will experience eternal life, a life filled with joy and free from suffering, sorrow, pain, and death. (Sounds amazing!)
In this chapter, Jesus reminds us: life is fleeting. We can’t predict or control the future. All we can do is offer ourselves up to him everyday by surrendering our desires to him and trusting him with our lives, and remember his warning in verses 36 and 37:
“Don’t let him find you sleeping when he arrives without warning. I say to you what I say to everyone: ‘Watch for him!’”
So let’s set aside our crazy (un)mathematical formulas and guessing games about when he’s coming back, and stay focused on a single truth: Jesus is coming back. We don’t know when. But when we live lives fully submitted to him, we can be confident that we’ll experience an eternal hope and joy that’s greater than anything we ever could have imagined. Life with Jesus is so good.
Prayer: God, I pray I’d live everyday like my life is temporary, like I may not have the option of bringing glory to your name another day. I praise you for the eternal hope you give me when I submit myself to you. Amen.