“The end is near!” Many have declared to know the future, and many have been led astray by persuasive sounding arguments about the end of the world. We usually want to know the when. But Jesus just gives us the what—what to look for and what to do as the time approaches.
- Do issues of the end times and the potential end of the world interest you? Why or why not?
READ THE WORD: MARK 13:1-13 (ESV)
13:1 And as he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!” 2 And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”
3 And as he sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately, 4 “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are about to be accomplished?” 5 And Jesus began to say to them, “See that no one leads you astray. 6 Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray. 7 And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. This must take place, but the end is not yet. 8 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains.
9 “But be on your guard. For they will deliver you over to councils, and you will be beaten in synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them. 10 And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations. 11 And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. 12 And brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death. 13 And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- There are four imperative commands that Jesus gave the disciples in this passage. What are the circumstances Jesus described that are connected to each of these commands?
- See that no one leads you astray (vs. 5).
- Do not be alarmed (vs. 7).
- Be on your guard (vs. 9).
- Do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour (vs. 11).
- How would each of these commands be of practical help to the disciples?
- What is the role that disciples of Jesus are to fulfill in the midst of the difficulties Jesus described (vss. 9, 10)?
- Which of the commands in this passage is the most important for you to obey right now and why?
RESPOND TO GOD
The disciples asked Jesus, “When?” But Jesus did not give the year, the month, or the hour. That doesn’t mean Jesus was ignorant of these things. Jesus knew what was going to happen and he shared just enough with his friends to prepare them—and us—in how to live and act and endure. God is never out of control, and the events of our lives and the events of the future are all part of God’s plan to make his love known around the world, to every nation.
- Pray about any current events that resemble the things described in today’s passage. Ask God to make himself known to the nations through these events.
- Ask God to help you not be afraid or anxious as you see and experience the difficulties described in today’s passage.
- Ask God to give you endurance in the circumstances you find yourself in today. Thank God that he is in control and pray for the outworking of his purposes in the world.