Mark 13:1 - 37
ESV - 1 And as he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, "Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings! 2 And Jesus said to him, "Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.
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I would say that Jesus was emphasizing that no one on earth will know the exact time of His return, which will mark the close of the present age. After that, there will be no further opportunity to exercise faith in Him (since He will be visibly present), or for individuals to prepare for His coming through witnessing to their saving faith by their personal conduct, or through saving others by bringing them to faith in Him. His followers should therefore take care to assure that both their attitude and actions are in a continual state of readiness for that event. Jesus is saying that those who do not take care to do so are spiritually asleep, and that, as a result of their lack of watchfulness, they will not be commended or rewarded by Him.
The phrase “stay awake” appears in verses 33, 35 and 37. The phrase is linked with “be on guard” and “watch. The Amplified version says “be continually on the alert”. Why is this so important? Because we have a job to do until Jesus comes to take us home. This chapter in Mark gives us a broad overview of what will happen in the last days before Jesus comes. Our job will get more difficult because we will face opposition from unbelievers. They will take us to court on trumped up charges. But we are not to worry because the Holy Spirit will tell us what to say. Even families will break apart over faith in Jesus Christ. We are warned to watch out for false Christ’s and false Prophets who will try to lead us astray. Their lies, deceptions, signs and wonders will be very convincing. Even when we are physically awake we can be metaphorically asleep, oblivious to the events happening around us. This world is crumbling through evil, wickedness, corruption and decay. But at the same time the kingdom of God is advancing every day bringing salvation to everyone that God has called. Every Christian has a critical part to play in this mission. We must stay awake, be continually on the alert, so we can accomplish all that God has called each of us to do.
We must stay awake (Mark 13:33, 35, 37) because Jesus commanded it; He urges His servants to be watchful. Each of us has a special job to do. And no servant knows when the Master will come back. Perpetual vigilance is in order here because it is an order. "The tempter may be near us" as well. Evil thoughts may come. You don't want that. Jesus is our example here. He watched and prayed alone. In the Garden of Gethsemane. You may have to watch and pray alone, sometimes too. Just like the Master.
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