Read: Mark 13:3-13
As I began to read this section, I simply had to stop and ponder what it must have been like to have a private discussion with Jesus:
And as he sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately, Mark 13:3
Four of the disciples had the privilege of space and time. Space to be in the presence of Jesus face to face and time to sit and listen with no cell phones or emails begging for attention. No fanfare here, just four guys who were sold out to Jesus asking for a private conversation — Jesus answers them without delay.
There are four phrases in particular that jumped out at me as I read this morning, perhaps they might speak to you today: watch out, be on your guard, whenever you are arrested, and everyone will hate you. As we look at these, remember this is an intimate setting, not a sermon to 5,000+. It’s important for us to surround ourselves with those who are devoted to Christ, who know His voice, who can help us discern His will in a world that seeks to deceive and destroy.
Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. Mark 13:5
In their time, no one spoke like Jesus did. They didn’t have the Bible, the New Testament, seminaries, books, Google, etc., no one to lean on for clarification. They were standing at the edge of the wood, Fangorn Forest if you must, about to enter a land where no one dared to go, let alone thrive. To say there were naysayers around them puts it lightly. They weren’t to be merely ridiculed for this new found faith, they would literally be beaten by the very foundational elements of what was known as the chosen people.
“You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. Mark 13:9
Flogged in synagogues, the center of Jewish local leadership. I’m thinking one of them raised their hand at this point and asked for some clarification. They were Jews. Devout. Regular working men who dropped their nets and followed Jesus. I have to believe He explained a bit more to the handful of those who heard these words.
Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit. Mark 13:11
Whenever you are arrested, not “if” you are arrested. This is going to happen, you will be put on trial, you will suffer. It’s not a badge of honor. They were not going about trying to pick a fight to see how the Spirit would bail them out. Not at all! They would merely go about there way preaching the amazing good news that the Messiah came, that the leaders killed Him, and that God, the One true God, resurrected Him and we must all acknowledge Jesus above all others. That statement would provoke arrest, torture and death. Now that you know, go and spread the gospel!
Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. Mark 13:13
And this is your reward: everyone will hate you. Sign me up! This is Holy discontent at its best.
I wonder if we have what it takes to be called a disciple of Jesus, let alone refer to ourselves as disciple makers. Jesus did not compromise. He did not paint a rosy picture of a two-car garage and steady income. It’s pretty clear that being on mission for Christ has little to do with creature comforts we enjoy.
It’s hard to navigate each day with this thought in mind. Lord, teach us to pray and understand. Help us to look to You for direction, to hear Your voice above the chatter, to advance Your kingdom here on earth.
The featured image I chose for this post is a field with a broken down tractor. It appears that the crops are thriving around the tractor, but the vehicle is useless, impotent, ineffective. That tractor will contribute nothing toward the harvest. In light of yesterday’s post, may we commit to being the people who will serve in the field without relying on broken tractors.
The fields are ripe. Where are the workers?