with Alan Bailey
Mark 13:21-36; 14:1-5
Welcome to this Bible Study. Read what I have written slowly. If you have a Bible look up the reference verses given, and allow the Holy Spirit to minister to your soul through them.
We are looking at the final week of Christ's ministry on earth. This chapter of Mark records the teaching of the Lord Jesus about the future and the indications of His second coming. This world is going to see many startling and violent scenes. As we consider these things we need to think how we may prepare ourselves and help others to do so as well.
Chapter 13 verses 21, 22, 23 At that time if anyone says to you, "Look, here is the Christ! Or "Look, there He is!" do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect—if that were possible. So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.
This warning is very plain. In our day various individuals and cults have arisen making false claims. Usually they deny important Bible truths and make money from those they win over. We are not to fall into their traps.
Verses 24 -- 27 But in those days, following that distress, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time men will see the Son of Man coming with great power and glory. And He will send His angels and gather His elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.
These happenings will be frightening. The whole world of nature will seem to be folding up. In the midst of all this, Jesus will appear in a powerful display. Angels will accompany Him and will gather together those who belong to Him from all over the world. Other passages in the Bible which describe this are: Matthew 24, Luke 21 and 2 Thessalonians 2. There are many other references to what is called the second coming.
Verses 28—31 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. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door. I tell you the truth; this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
In referring to the fig tree, the Lord is pointing out the way signs can prepare us for what is about to happen. Also, it seems that Jesus wants His hearers to be on their toes, not simply leaving these things aside. We note that He says "this generation shall not pass away until all these things have happened." It is not easy to see what He means as many years were to intervene. Some translators feel that "generation" can mean race or nation. Others feel that He is talking about the generation that is alive at the time these signs appear. We must grasp the importance of Christ's words as He said they will never pass away. Christ's words are changeless and eternal.
Verses 32, 33 "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard!" Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.
While we are to expect the coming of the Lord and live in the light of it, we are unable to put a date on it in any way, Those who have made predictions and had people doing strange things, expecting His return, have been left looking embarrassed. It is very plain that only God the Father knows the exact moment. But here and in other places as well, we are exhorted to keep alert, expectant and in readiness. Those who don't know Christ as Saviour will be greatly dismayed at His presence while those who know Him will be overjoyed.
Verses 34—37 It's like a man going away: He leaves his house in charge of his servants, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. So also you must 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. If he comes suddenly, don't let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: "Watch!"
The thought behind all these warnings is that people are accountable to God. So many live as if they won't have to answer to anybody when they die or if they meet God. But all of us are responsible for our lives and what we have done with Christ's claim upon us. There will be no escape. How ashamed so many will be whom He finds engaged in sin and wrong.
Ch 14; 1, 2 Now the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and teachers of the law were looking for some sly way to arrest Jesus and kill Him. "But not during the feast" they said "or the people may riot."
Having come so far through the Book of Mark, and having seen the wonderful life and ministry of the Lord, we must wonder why men would want to kill Him. Those behind the plot were religious leaders—men who should have hailed Jesus as Messiah or at the very least, a good man doing good. There was not a single thing they could settle on as grounds to do away with Him. But such is human nature. Perfect love is hated. A man with the reputation of being holy shows up faults in others. The priests and teachers couldn't stand Him. He made them feel condemned. So they invented reasons to do away with Him
Verses 3—5 While He was in Bethany, reclining in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on His head. Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, "Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year's wages and the money given to the poor. And they rebuked her harshly.
There follows another illustration of human nature. One person values Jesus so much she gives up her precious lotion to show her love. For Jesus, it was a preparation for His burial—at least He took it that way. But there are others present who can only see "waste". Of course, their reference to the poor was not because they felt for them, but because they wished to condemn the lady's generosity.
So we see human nature shows up badly again and again.
While we despair our sinfulness and sense unworthiness, let us remember that Jesus was doing all this for us—for our benefit. He was not just trying to reform us, to make us better people. He was giving Himself in order to save us, to change us from within, to forgive us and give us a new life. Had there been any other way but through the cross, it would have been taken. The perfect life of the Lamb of God had to be laid down in order for salvation to be freely available to repentant sinners. This is what the Gospels are all about. •
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