Daily Readings and Thought for August 18th. “YOU DO NOT KNOW WHEN THE TIME WILL COME”
Today we again read what is known as ‘The Olivet Prophecy’; we read it every 2 months, is it TOO familiar to us?. This teaching of Jesus is specifically to his disciples as they sat on the Mount of Olives where they could look down on the Temple. He had shocked them by saying the Temple was going to be destroyed. They were bewildered; they were expecting him to very soon assert his rule as king with a miraculous demonstration of power.
Much of our chapter today (Mark 13) is primarily about the coming destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem and the extreme plight of the people at that time. This happened in AD70. But in places Jesus extends his visionary words beyond that time to his second coming when there will be an even greater time of trouble for the whole world, but centred on Jerusalem. Some of his words apply to both that time (AD67-70) when, according to Josephus a million Jews died, but other of his words apply specifically to that final time of trouble, a time of “such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of creation until now and never will be (again).” [Mark 13 v.19]
Christ’s words end with a personal message and parable for all true believers. “Be on your guard, stay awake. For you do not know when the time will come” [v.33]. Jesus talks of a “man going on a journey”(himself) who “puts his servants in charge,each with his work” [v.34] What is the work of these servants? They are in charge! In charge of what? The answer is that they should be representing him, they are in charge of delivering his message, although they “do not know when the Master will come” [v.35].
On another occasion Jesus answered a query by Peter by warning that some servants would think “My Master is delayed in coming” and begins to beat fellow servants “and to eat and drink and get drunk, and the master of that servant will come … (at) an hour he does not know” [Luke 12 v.45,46]. The lack of diligent Bible reading today by the servants the Lord has left in charge is becoming more evident. Yet many know the world knows it is facing an impossible future and more and more people, especially young people are living for the moment, which is all they care to think about. Are you a servant of the Lord? If so, hear Jesus’ words in your heart, “Be on your guard, stay awake,” serve him daily, for you do not know when the time will come”