S (Scripture): Mark 13:14 [Jesus says: ] “When you see the disgusting and destructive thing standing where it shouldn’t be (the reader should understand this), then those in Judea must escape to the mountains. 15 Those on the roof shouldn’t come down or enter their houses to grab anything. 16 Those in the field shouldn’t come back to grab their clothes. 17 How terrible it will be at that time for women who are pregnant and for women who are nursing their children. 18 Pray that it doesn’t happen in winter. 19 In those days there will be great suffering such as the world has never before seen and will never again see. 20 If the Lord hadn’t shortened that time, no one would be rescued. But for the sake of the chosen ones, the ones whom God chose, he has cut short the time.
21 “Then if someone says to you, ‘Look, here’s the Christ,’ or ‘There he is,’ don’t believe it. 22 False christs and false prophets will appear, and they will offer signs and wonders in order to deceive, if possible, those whom God has chosen. 23 But you, watch out! I’ve told you everything ahead of time.”
O (Observation): What frightening words to be heard by those who follow Jesus and are assured of the grace of God!
This text seems to be a great way to make certain that God’s people are both assured of God’s love for them AND – at the same time – to make sure that God’s people are not falling asleep as Christians in the world. To both be assured and to stay awake!
The promise is that Jesus the Christ will come again. The time will seem perilous to those who experience Jesus’ return, but Jesus will be known again as he truly is….not just in bread and wine.
A (Application): Falling in love creates an alluring and also terrifying reaction in a person: alluring, because love is sensational, and yet frightening, because you want to to be ready to respond to the other in just the right way at any given moment.
This is like awaiting the parousia (the return of Christ). We anticipate what Jesus’ return will be like; we speak of his return in the creeds we speak and in the bread and wine. But he will come fully, one day.
And Jesus’ day of return might be a million years from now…or a thousand…or a hundred… or…today?
We don’t know. So, in this text, we are encouraged to be comforted and yet set on edge. That we should not worry, yet we can be prepared for his coming.
Anticipation. Like falling in love all over again. Or for the first time. Be ready. Receive grace. Receive the Lord.
P (Prayer): Lord, we may be nervous, but your Spirit – your Advocate – prepares us. Amen.