Be on the Alert!

Mark 13

Many teachings and thoughts could be extracted from the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24, Mk. 13, Lk. 21). For us this section of the gospels will be the focal point of our devotions today and tomorrow. For our devotion this morning I want to look at the last verse of Mark 13 where Jesus concludes “What I say to you I say to all, ‘Be on the alert’”.

This section of the gospels (Matt. 24, Mk. 13, and Lk. 21) have in mind two future events. Jesus prophesies the destruction of the Jerusalem temple (AD 70) and speaks to the events that will foretell of his second coming. In Mark 13.31 the message Jesus communicates to his disciples is the one he also wants all those who follow him to know as well, namely, “Be on the alert”. The New Testament as a whole has an urgency to it. This theme of being on alert and aware of the coming of the Lord is present throughout the New Testament. Though Jesus ascended two thousand years ago and hasn’t come back yet it does not mean we should live complacent lives as Christians. Here are some other texts that speak to urgency in the Christian life:

“Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we first believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore, let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave properly in the day…” —Romans 13.11-13

“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” — Ephesians 5.15-17

“…let us be alert and sober…” (Read I Thess. 5.1-8)

What does it mean to live on the alert as a Christian? What did Jesus mean when he spoke these words? In light of these texts above and the whole of the New Testament to live alertly is to have the conduct of our lives be in line with the words of Jesus. To live alertly means to quit wasting time with sinful behaviors and practices and start living in light of eternity and the judgement seat of Christ (II Cor. 5.10). 

Is there a sense of urgency in your following of Jesus? If the day of judgement was tomorrow would you be ready? Not only in the sense of would you be saved or not but would you be proud of the life you lived and know that you were sold out for Christ with the time God had given you? Don’t be complacent, be on the alert.

-Jacob Rohrer

Today’s Bible passage can be read or listened to at BibleGateway here – Mark 13

Tomorrow we will read Matthew 24.

Be Alert

Mark 13

Mark 13 37

In Mark 13 we see Jesus telling his disciples that things are going to get bad. Before Jesus comes back there will be trouble politically, physically, and even spiritually. This isn’t what anyone wants to hear, but it is the truth.

Politically- verses 6-9

  1. Leaders will arise in his name saying “I am He” misleading many.
  2. We will hear of wars and rumors of wars. (Isn’t this already the case? My sister is in the navy and they are always preparing for a possible war. Right now the concern is Iran.)
  3. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. (We see this, too.)
  4. You will be delivered to the courts. (You may find yourself in trouble for standing up for God’s commands. These persecutions do happen already. Check out the Colorado baker. He was “delivered to the courts” for not wanting to bake a cake for a same-sex marriage couple and recently again persecuted because he didn’t want to bake a cake celebrating someone’s transition from male to female.)

 

Physically- verses 8-9 and 12 and 14-18

  1. There will be earthquakes and famines.
  2. There will be floggings and betrayal that could lead to death.
  3. Some will have to leave their homes to run and hide.

 

Spiritually- verses 22 and 33-37

  1. There will be false Christs and prophets trying to lead people astray.
  2. Some will be found asleep.

 

Jesus says in verse 23, “I have told you everything in advance.” We shouldn’t be surprised when we see things getting rough politically or physically. God will help us with this. If we find ourselves speaking in the courts, He will send the holy spirit to help us (verse 11). If we find ourselves physically dealing with tribulation, we can find assurance in the fact that God “shortened the days” of disaster (verse 20). Jesus puts extra emphasis on the spiritual trials though. Here it is our responsibility to “take heed” and “keep on the alert”. We can’t get lazy about our devotion to our Father. If we are alert and on guard, we shouldn’t be led astray. This is why Jesus warned his disciples and it’s a warning for us, too. We don’t know when Jesus is coming back. We do know that he is and that we will want him to find us alert and ready!

-Melissa New