Mark 13:1-37 NIV
The Destruction of the Temple and Signs of the End Times
13 As Jesus was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!” 2 “Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; everyone will be thrown down.” 3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked him privately, 4 “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?” 5 Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 6 Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many. 7 When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 8 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains. 9 “You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of me, you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them. 10 And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. 11 Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit. 12 “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 13 Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 “When you see ‘the abomination that causes desolation standing where it does not belong—let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 15 Let no one on the housetop go down or enter the house to take anything out. 16 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 17 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 18 Pray that this will not take place in winter, 19 because those will be days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now—and never to be equaled again. 20 “If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect, whom he has chosen, he has shortened them. 21 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. 22 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 23 So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.
24 “But in those days, following that distress, “‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; 25 the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ 26 “At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27 And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens. 28 “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 29 Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door. 30 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
The Day and Hour Unknown
32 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. 34 It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. 35 “Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. 36 If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. 37 What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’”
Have you ever faced persecution for your faith? What happened?
Lord God, You are the Alpha, the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. All times are in Your hands. I have been distressed to see the bombings in Israel and the middle east. 2021 is on track to become a record-breaking year of major earthquakes and volcanoes. I watched in horror as Pastor Pawlowski from Canada was arrested and dragged in the street because he held services, fed the poor, and preached the gospel. Many people who have stood on the principles of their faith have lost careers, been harassed, and canceled. People from around the world are arrested and even killed because of their faith in You. You are not surprised by any of this. This world is in desperate need of the hope of salvation. You have given us this very opportunity to stand up and share our faith with others who do not know You. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I do know that on this very day, the words I say and my behavior matters. I can make a difference. Give me the boldness to share the story of Your grace, love, and forgiveness to those who need to hear that good news. Help me to not let my guard down but to be alert to Your Spirit as You lead me to do Your will. I pray that I stand firm in my faith no matter what is happening around me. Allow me to be an instrument in leading people back to You. Give Your global church courage to reach out to those who are hurting and frightened. Spread Your Spirit like wildfire across the world and let all Christians come together in Your Name. Give each of us the sense of urgency to share the story about what You did for us. Help me do my part as a consistent example of Your mercy and grace that brings others closer to You. Let me share Your message of salvation and love to all I meet. Let my behavior be authentic, honest, true and faithful. I look forward to the day when You return to join with those who know You as Lord. Together we will praise You for eternity. Let the signs of the times draw all people toward You. Amen