Reflection on Mark 13:1-8: Twenty-Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

 November 14 2021

The Gospel of Mark 13:1-8

As Jesus came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what large stones and what large buildings!” Then Jesus asked him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.”

When he was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked him privately, “Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign that all these things are about to be accomplished?” Then Jesus began to say to them, “Beware that no one leads you astray. Many will come in my name and say, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed; this must take place, but the end is still to come. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. This is but the beginning of the birth pangs.”

Let us Pray: Dear lord, time is a concept that defines each day. Time does not define the time of the return of our Lord. Let us pray when the Lord returns, we are ready for His glorious return. We need to be ready by living as Christ lived for each and every one of us. This we pray in Your name. Amen.

This Sunday’s gospel is full of troubling images, images that seem to portray our world today. Images that sound like the 6 O’clock news. Today’s opening collect tells us to hear, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest holy scripture.

The Collect for Sunday 14 November.  Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Hear, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest this gospel? That is a lot. Do we wonder as the disciples did when will all this happen, when was the end coming? The disciples wanted to know, but Jesus wasn’t into giving times and dates. In fact, he put it quite bluntly, about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Ultimately, Jesus’ words about the end of all things have taught us more about the things of now. Life is happening all around us. If we are not awake and watchful, we’ll miss it. So, one thing we know for sure about when Jesus will return, if someone tells you they know when it is, they are wrong. So, what do we have to look forward to? Exactly this: We may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ. The Christians understanding of the things to come is to be based solely on the Word of the Living God. The longing hope of the believer is knowing that because He lives, we too shall live; we who have been saved by His grace through our faith in His Christ according to His Scripture and for His glory alone. The resurrection of Christ does not only vindicate Jesus as the Son of God. It does not only demonstrate that we have been justified before God by His blood. It does not only show that we have been freed from the slavery of sin and raised to walk in the newness of life as slaves of Christ. It proves that we who have died in Christ will live in Christ and be glorified for all eternity as He is. And we must understand that God stands with the poor and the oppressed, that God stands with the hungry and the thirsty, the naked and the imprisoned, the sick and downtrodden. On the day of the Lord’s coming, the oppressed will be lifted up and the mighty pulled down from their thrones. On the day of the Lord’ coming, the massive stones of the Temple and the imperial structures they represent will crumble.

Let us Pray:  Father God: Thank you for your exciting promise that Jesus will come back in glory and power. Help us not to focus our energy on looking for signs of exactly when, but to make sure that we will be ready, whether that be today, tomorrow or in a thousand years. Help us to live each day as if it were the day of your return. Please forgive us when we forget and help us to keep our minds always focused on your kingdom. This we pray in the name of the Lord. Amen

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