Read Mark 13
Focus on verse 31
This past weekend we spent part of a day going through boxes stored in our garage. I was reminded again that have managed to collect a lot of stuff in the last thirty-some years. We have lived in nineteen different houses over those years always managing to drag along nearly everything we have from place to place. I’d been told that for most people, seven moves are equal to one fire – if that is the case, we must not leave behind as much as most people when we move. Somehow we managed to keep dragging along more and more stuff, some of which hasn’t seen daylight in years. We keep telling ourselves that someday we’ll get to the task of sorting through it, and perhaps have room to park a car in the garage again.
In today’s reading Jesus is describing what to expect, as we get closer to the end of earthly history. There are things that are permanent, and there are things that are temporal, and if Jesus is correct in His assessment – many of us have it reversed.
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. (v. 31)
If this is true, everything we know – trees, flowers, earth, sky, sun, moon, stars etc. – will all be gone! All that will remain is the word of God, which is a good thing, because it was the word of God that spoke it all into existence in the first place. So, perhaps when the Apostle John writes of a “New Heaven and New Earth” in the book of Revelation, this too will be spoken into existence by the word of God.
There are many details about how exactly the end will come about that are not clearly defined, however, there are a few things which are very clear. Perhaps the most important being that we find ourselves ready when it happens. In the paragraph that follows today’s verse, Jesus makes it clear that no one but God the Father knows the exact time of the end. What we can know with certainty is that there will be an end and that it is coming closer with every passing day. What seems to be of great concern to Jesus is that we “stay awake” (v. 37) and that we are prepared and ready when it occurs. It would seem that He is using figurative language here, in that I rather doubt He is suggesting we never sleep. The sense in which we are to stay awake is a spiritual sense. We are to be spiritually aware and alert, keeping watch and anticipating the return of Jesus. Perhaps the simplest way to describe it might be to keep our relationship with Jesus current. The way we do this is to make a point of connecting with Him in someway on a daily basis. One hour on Sunday is good, but probably not sufficient to maintain a healthy relationship. If I only made an effort to connect with my wife for one hour a week, I rather suspect our marriage would be in trouble. If I want a relationship that lasts forever, I need to put in the effort required to focus on nurturing that relationship. The same is true of my relationship with God.