< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: Be Alert! Mark 13:28-37

Monday, November 26, 2012

Be Alert! Mark 13:28-37

Mark 13:28-37 28 Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 29 Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door. 30 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

32 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. 34 It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.

35 “Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. 36 If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. 37 What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’”

This passage tells us we need to be prepared and how to do that. We’re to read the signs. A fig tree loses its leaves in the winter; and in late spring when you see the new growth, you know that summer is coming. He says when you see the signs you will know the end is near. Jesus will be right at the door. There’s immediacy in His statement. In the book of Revelation Jesus says many times “I am coming quickly”. And it’s for sure. “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but not my words”.

Where He says “this generation will not pass until these things happen”, He doesn’t mean a 20 or 40 year time period. It’s more like “the church age” or this season of trials kind of thing.

He also makes it clear in this passage that we are not to figure out when it will happen. We’re not to focus on the timing; we are to focus on the task. And that’s to be ready to welcome the Lord Jesus into our life. To trust Him and with joy anticipate His arrival.

Luke 12:35-38 35 Let your loins be girded about, and your lamps burning;36 and be ye yourselves like unto men looking for their lord, when he shall return from the marriage feast; that, when he cometh and knocketh, they may straightway open unto him.

37 Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them sit down to meat, and shall come and serve them.38 And if he shall come in the second watch, and if in the third, and find them so blessed are those servants.

We’ll be blessed if we are ready for Him!

Jesus then tells a story about a master who has servants and he’s going away on a trip. He leaves his servants in charge. Jesus is the master who has gone away. We are the servants and we’ve been left in charge while He’s gone. The verse says each one was left with their assigned task. The task is the same really for every Christian. That we be engaged in developing quality followers of Jesus Christ. Period! It’s called different things in scripture, “loving your neighbor”, “making fishers of men”, “spreading the Gospel”… and we have different ways of doing it based on our gifts; telling people about God and Jesus, teaching, writing, mentoring, encouraging, showing Christ’s love, giving God the Glory, etc. but it’s all to make disciples. That’s our job as Christians.

Of course, even His disciples were slow learners:

Acts 1:6-8 6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”

7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Jesus had already told them no one knows, but the Father. But here they ask again. So Jesus answers them again: don’t focus on the times or dates. Focus on the task – “you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Mark 13:10 also said the Gospel must be preached to the ends of the earth.

So encourage people by your faithfulness. Be alert! Be ready! We’ve all been left in charge of this task!

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