Sermon on February 23 by Pastor Roland Eskinazi
Scripture: Mark 13:1-23
Jesus is not giving us a chronological timing of when history will end. Rather, this is pastoral comfort.
When it seems as if the end is coming:
1. BE SENSIBLE – DON’T SPECULATE!
- All history, right to the end, is Jesus’ story (v1-10)
Two events: i) the destruction of Jerusalem (AD 70) and ii) the end of the world, are in mind.
Every generation thinks theirs may be the last and the media brings natural catastrophes into our homes.
“…do not be alarmed. Such things must happen but the end is yet to come.’ (v7b)
You will hear much about wars, and rumors of wars, but the end is near when the gospel reaches all nations.
- Our hope is not in the world ending, but in a new world beginning (v11-19)
A third event, not just the temple destroyed and the world’s end, but iii) ‘the abomination that causes desolation’
‘..at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on Him’ (Daniel 7:27b)
The worst event in history, God forsaking Jesus on the Cross, ends not in death, but resurrection.
Focus on the signs and you will shrivel up. Focus on Jesus dying, rising and coming again and you will bring hope.
2. BE STEADY – NOT SHAKY!
- Keep your head – don’t be deceived (v5-6, 20-22)
Lazy reading and interpreting of the Bible often ends in foolish predicting and living.
When we stop discerning, we will be like the blind who lead the blind. Use your mind!
‘..what we are trying do with this project, is bring words that go right through the defenses of the mind and go right to our spirit.’
(Brian Simmons, sole author of ‘The Passion’ translation)
- Keep your head- don’t be distracted
There will be no secret rapture (v20), but Christ will keep the elect, as we are faithful to Him.
‘Therefore since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful and so worship God (not the end times, or signs, or media) with reverence and with awe’ (Hebrews 12:28)
- Keep centered – on devotion to Jesus (v23)
‘Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved’ (v13)
Are we more tempted to anxiety when our comfort is threatened?
When your life is on the line and you remain devoted to Jesus, then you know who really has your heart.
“ If I could say one thing to believers there (in the West), I would say this: ‘When Christ gives you something sweet, thank Him and rejoice. When Christ gives you something bitter, thank Him and rejoice’”
(Bachir, persecuted believer in North Africa).
You don’t have to worry about tomorrow, global warming or when the end is, because Jesus has it covered.
Jesus knows where the world will be tomorrow, ten or twenty years from now.
Keep your head and heart, and boldly embrace each moment with faith.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION
- Why do people like to talk and speculate about the end? Is this a positive or negative thing? Why?
- Why did the Jews and even the disciples think that the temple could not possibly be destroyed?
- What is discouraging about Jesus’ predictions of end times? What is encouraging about having some idea of it, before the end happens?
- In what context should you not ‘worry beforehand what you will say’? Does this mean we should not study, or practice our testimony? Is there value in trying to predict the end times? What should we do with our time and talents while we wait?
Photo credit FreeImages.com/Paul Fris