Todays readings… Exodus 28,Psalm 83&84, Mark 13
“KEEP … STAY AWAKE”
How challenging is today’s ch. 13 in Mark’s gospel. In part, the words of Jesus, applied to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, this was 35-40 years after the preaching/teaching years of Jesus. But then Jesus moves his ‘vision’ further forward to reveal the divine ‘picture’ of the final time of judgement on godless human beings; “days” when “there will be such tribulation as has not beenfrom the beginning of the creation that God created until now, and never will be.” [v.19]
Those days are to be “shortened” and “cut short” [v.20] or “no human being would be saved.” This final time of judgement is followed by the darkening of the sun and the moon (v.24) “and the stars will be falling from heaven” [v.25] “And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.” [v. 27] and the verse ends! “And then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from … the ends of the earth…”
But look at v.32,33 these verses are even more arresting and challenging to our thoughts and meditation! “But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake.” Awake to what? Today, virtually all are ‘asleep’ to the reality that there is a God, an almighty, all-seeing Creator.
His Son taught that there is no middle path; he taught that “the way is easy that leads to destruction …” [Matt 7 v.13] and then that “the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” [v.14] Those who ”stay awake” are the only ones’ who find it.
The whole world is on the “easy” way today. How much does this influence us? Believers do not know the “day” or the “hour” – but some see 2017 as a significant year. We have just quoted how Jesus said that “concerning that day or that hour, no one knows” – but what about the year!? 2017 is 70 years since Israel became a nation again. Is that significant? Think of how often ‘70’ occurs in a significant context in Scripture! When Jesus said, as we read today, “Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come.” [v.33] – let us make sure we are doing just that.