When You’re Always Ready (for Christ’s return), You’re Never Surprised
Topic: Advent Passage: Mark 13:24–13:37
This Sunday began Advent. It’s a four-week season focusing on the “arrivals” (Latin adventus) of Jesus, both his First and Second comings. The Second Coming will be radically different than the First and shocking to many people. Is the thought of Christ’s return a joy for you?
Mark 13 contains Jesus’ “little apocalypse,” a teaching given in response to the disciples marveling at the Temple’s glory. Jesus tells them that every stone will be thrown down. They ask him when to expect this. His answer goes far beyond the Temple’s destruction and sets them, and us, up to be prepared for his Second Coming.
When you’re always ready (for Christ’s return), you’re never surprised.
Seven times in Mark 13 we find warnings to be on guard or to stay awake. The teaching in this chapter isn’t meant to give a special code for knowing the exact date of Christ’s return. Rather, it teaches disciples to remain steadfast despite obstacles. These include false messiahs, persecution, the Temple’s desecration and cosmic disturbances. Like a faithful doorkeeper awaiting the Master, we must remain awake.
Christ’s return will be a great joy for those who know him and are walking with him. The early church prayed an Aramaic phrase “maranatha,” meaning “our Lord, come!” (See 1 Corinthians 16:22).
Our Church catechism asks and answers how to live while awaiting Christ:
- Be filled with the Holy Spirit. We can do this by regularly asking for him to come into our lives.
- Pursue holiness personally. Advent is a time to ask God to transform us, beginning with an awareness of his own holiness.
- Share the hope of Jesus with others.
Taking It Home: Reference Luke 21:27-28 and discuss why Christians should raise their heads at Christ’s return.
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