Mark – The Facts.
Many years ago there was book written entitled, “The Frog in the Kettle” by one of my favorite modern day prophets, George Barna. He has written other profound books based on his survey and research of the American church since that time. Many took notice but many more did not. Society is now affecting the church more than church affects society. Why?
The boiling frog is a parable describing a frog being slowly boiled alive. The premise is that if a frog is put suddenly into boiling water, it will jump out, but if the frog is put in tepid water which is then brought to a boil slowly, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death. The story is often used as a metaphor for the inability or unwillingness of people to react to or be aware of threats that arise gradually.
Jesus and His disciples are sitting on Mount Olives, in full view of the Temple. They have a discussion about how life as they know it now and how it will all end. “What sign will we get…?”, they ask Jesus. He tells them what NOT to look for, but more importantly, he relates what is required of us. It seems that if we focus more on what is required, we will be saved, not sorry when the end comes. Look to Jesus not what is around you. Look less for human signs along the way. Signs can be confusing. We will know when it is time for Him to return if we look up to Him with our hearts, minds and souls. We will just know.
Imagine sitting there with Jesus as he teaches and encourages his followers (and us) as they look over the city at the Temple that was the edifice once dedicated to God but is now a “den of thieves”. It is not a building that saves us, it is in Christ alone.
Mark 13, The Message
13 As he walked away from the Temple, one of his disciples said, “Teacher, look at that stonework! Those buildings!”
2 Jesus said, “You’re impressed by this grandiose architecture? There’s not a stone in the whole works that is not going to end up in a heap of rubble.”
3-4 Later, as he was sitting on Mount Olives in full view of the Temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew got him off by himself and asked, “Tell us, when is this going to happen? What sign will we get that things are coming to a head?”
5-8 Jesus began, “Watch out for doomsday deceivers. Many leaders are going to show up with forged identities claiming, ‘I’m the One.’ They will deceive a lot of people. When you hear of wars and rumored wars, keep your head and don’t panic. This is routine history, and no sign of the end. Nation will fight nation and ruler fight ruler, over and over. Earthquakes will occur in various places. There will be famines. But these things are nothing compared to what’s coming.
9-10 “And watch out! They’re going to drag you into court. And then it will go from bad to worse, dog-eat-dog, everyone at your throat because you carry my name. You’re placed there as sentinels to truth. The Message has to be preached all across the world.
11 “When they bring you, betrayed, into court, don’t worry about what you’ll say. When the time comes, say what’s on your heart—the Holy Spirit will make his witness in and through you.
12-13 “It’s going to be brother killing brother, father killing child, children killing parents. There’s no telling who will hate you because of me.
“Stay with it—that’s what is required. Stay with it to the end. You won’t be sorry; you’ll be saved.
Run for the Hills
14-18 “But be ready to run for it when you see the monster of desecration set up where it should never be. You who can read, make sure you understand what I’m talking about. If you’re living in Judea at the time, run for the hills; if you’re working in the yard, don’t go back to the house to get anything; if you’re out in the field, don’t go back to get your coat. Pregnant and nursing mothers will have it especially hard. Hope and pray this won’t happen in the middle of winter.
19-20 “These are going to be hard days—nothing like it from the time God made the world right up to the present. And there’ll be nothing like it again. If he let the days of trouble run their course, nobody would make it. But because of God’s chosen people, those he personally chose, he has already intervened.
No One Knows the Day or Hour
21-23 “If anyone tries to flag you down, calling out, ‘Here’s the Messiah!’ or points, ‘There he is!’ don’t fall for it. Fake Messiahs and lying preachers are going to pop up everywhere. Their impressive credentials and dazzling performances will pull the wool over the eyes of even those who ought to know better. So watch out. I’ve given you fair warning.
24-25 “Following those hard times,
Sun will fade out,
moon cloud over,
Stars fall out of the sky,
cosmic powers tremble.
26-27 “And then they’ll see the Son of Man enter in grand style, his Arrival filling the sky—no one will miss it! He’ll dispatch the angels; they will pull in the chosen from the four winds, from pole to pole.
28-31 “Take a lesson from the fig tree. From the moment you notice its buds form, the merest hint of green, you know summer’s just around the corner. And so it is with you. When you see all these things, you know he is at the door. Don’t take this lightly. I’m not just saying this for some future generation, but for this one, too—these things will happen. Sky and earth will wear out; my words won’t wear out.
32-37 “But the exact day and hour? No one knows that, not even heaven’s angels, not even the Son. Only the Father. So keep a sharp lookout, for you don’t know the timetable. It’s like a man who takes a trip, leaving home and putting his servants in charge, each assigned a task, and commanding the gatekeeper to stand watch. So, stay at your post, watching. You have no idea when the homeowner is returning, whether evening, midnight, cockcrow, or morning. You don’t want him showing up unannounced, with you asleep on the job. I say it to you, and I’m saying it to all: Stay at your post. Keep watch.”
What do we learn?
–Watch out! Keep watch. Jesus warns his disciples and us to stay at our posts as sentinels. Stay true to God’s Word. God’s Word will never wear out and will always be Truth whether we believe it or not.
–Speak Truth. Only Truth. Stick to the Truth. Live Truth.
–Preach The Message all over the world.
–Don’t be impressed by buildings, be saved by Jesus, the Cornerstone of our lives being built daily. We are now The Temples in which His Holy Spirit resides. In what shape are those temples? Do we need to clean house?
–Don’t be afraid to speak up, “The Holy Spirit will make his witness in and through you.”
–Families will be torn apart for speaking Truth and living it. Do it anyway.
–When He comes, no one will miss it.
–“You won’t be sorry; you’ll be saved.”
Dear Heavenly Father,
What you told your disciples and what you are telling us now is hard Truth, but necessary for us to know as we live through the heat that is slowly being turned up in the world. Who will tell the world, preach repentance and stop the madness of hate stemming from selfishness? Help us to stay alert, keep watch and never stop preaching Truth. In Jesus Name and by His power living in us, Amen.