When You Feel Overwhelmed
Mark 13:9-13, 21-27, 32-37 2/14/2010
We have here the substance of that prophetical sermon which our Lord Jesus preached, pointing at the destruction of Jerusalem, and the consummation of all things; it was one of the last of his sermons, and not ad populum —to the people, but ad clerum —to the clergy; it was private, preached only to four of his disciples, with whom his secret was. Here is, The occasion of his prediction—his disciples’ admiring the building of the temple and their enquiry concerning the time of the desolation of them. The predictions themselves, Of the rise of deceivers. Of the wars of the nations . Of the persecution of Christians. Of the destruction of Jerusalem . Of the end of the world. Some general intimations concerning the time of them. Some practical inferences from all .
1. Christ’s Prophetic Declaration. (Mark 13:9-13)
Mark 13:9“But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will _ be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them. 10And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations. 11But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, _ or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. 12Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 13And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.
Our Lord Jesus, in reply to the disciples’ question, does not so much satisfy their curiosity as direct their consciences. When many are deceived, we should thereby be awakened to look to ourselves. And the disciples of Christ, if it be not their own fault, may enjoy holy security and peace of mind, when all around is in disorder. But they must take heed that they are not drawn away from Christ and their duty to him, by the sufferings they will meet with for his sake. They shall be hated of all men: trouble enough! Yet the work they were called to should be carried on and prosper. Though they may be crushed and borne down, the gospel cannot be. The salvation promised is more than deliverance from evil, it is everlasting blessedness.
2. His prophetic declarations. (Mark 13:21-27)
Mark 13:21“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘Look, He is there!’ do not believe it. 22For false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 23But take heed; see, I have told you all things beforehand.
24“But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; 25the stars of heaven will fall, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 26Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. 27And then He will send His angels, and gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest part of earth to the farthest part of heaven.
The disciples had confounded the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the world. This mistake Christ set right, and showed that the day of Christ’s coming, and the day of judgment, shall be after that tribulation. Here he foretells the final dissolution of the present frame and fabric of the world. Also, the visible appearance of the Lord Jesus coming in the clouds, and the gathering together of all the elect to him.
The Jews, in rebelling against the Romans, and in persecuting the Christians, were hastening to their own ruin apace, both efficiently and meritoriously, were setting both God and man against them; see 1 Th. 2:15 . Now here we have a prediction of that ruin which came upon them within less than forty years after this: we had it before, Mt. 24:15 , etc. Observe,
I. What is here foretold concerning it.
3. Watchfulness Urged. (Mark 13:32-37)
Mark 13:32“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is. 34It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch. 35Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning— 36lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. 37And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!”
We ought to be always upon our watch, in expectation of his return, Our Lord will come, and will come as the Master of the house, to take account of his servants, of their work, and of the improvement they have made. We know not when he will come; and he has very wisely kept us at uncertainty, that we might all be always ready. We know not when he will come, just at what precise time; the Master of the house perhaps will come at even, at nine at night; or it may be at midnight, or a cock-crowing, at three in the morning, or perhaps not until six. This is applicable to his coming to us in particular, at our death, as well as to the general judgment. Our present life is a night, a dark night, compared with the other life; we know not in which watch of the night our Master will come, whether in the days of youth, or middle age, or old age; but, as soon as we are born, we begin to die, and therefore, as soon as we are capable of expecting any thing, we must expect death. Our great care must be, that, whenever our Lord comes, he do not find us sleeping, secure in ourselves, off our guard, indulging ourselves in ease and sloth, mindless of our work and duty, and thoughtless of our Lord’s coming; ready to say, He will not come, and unready to meet him. His coming will indeed be coming suddenly; it will be a great surprise and terror to those that are careless, and asleep, it will come upon them as a thief in the night. It is therefore the indispensable duty of all Christ’s disciples, to watch, to be awake, and keep awake; “What I say unto you four I say unto all the twelve, or rather to you twelve, I say unto all my disciples and followers; what I say to you of this generation, I say to all that shall believe in men, through your word, in every age, Watch, watch, expect my second coming, prepare for it, that you may be found in peace, without spot, and blameless.”
Our Lord Jesus, in reply to their question, sets himself, not so much to satisfy their curiosity as to direct their consciences; leaves them still in the dark concerning the times and seasons, which the father has kept in his own power, and which it was not for them to know; but gives them the cautions which were needful, with reference to the events that should now shortly come to pass.
We have the application of this prophetic sermon. As to the destruction of Jerusalem, expect it to come very shortly. As to the end of the world, do not inquire when it will come, for of that day and that hour knoweth no man. Christ, as God, could not be ignorant of anything; but the Divine wisdom which dwelt in our Saviour, communicated itself to his human soul according to the Divine pleasure. As to both, our duty is to watch and pray. Our Lord Jesus, when he ascended on high, left something for all his servants to do. We ought to be always upon our watch, in expectation of his return. This applies to Christ’s coming to us at our death, as well as to the general judgment. We know not whether our Master will come in the days of youth, or middle age, or old age; but, as soon as we are born, we begin to die, and therefore we must expect death. Our great care must be, that, whenever our Lord comes, he may not find us secure, indulging in ease and sloth, mindless of our work and duty. He says to all, Watch, that you may be found in peace, without spot, and blameless.