If you just read this week’s passage, your first thoughts were probably not that this Sunday’s sermon topic will be encouraging! Yet, I think encouragement is exactly what Jesus had in mind as He warned the four disciples about the impending events described in Mark 13. Jesus had given lots of warnings to those outside the kingdom of God, but now He was warning those on the inside. Jesus was clearly envisioning a time when He would not be there to guide His disciples. It was meant to be an encouragement to His followers in His absence. While the timing of a few of the prophecies Jesus mentions are somewhat difficult to nail down with complete certainty, the warnings given to His followers are to be taken seriously by all those in the kingdom of God today.
Jesus was trying to show the disciples that the destruction of the temple would not be the “end” of the world (in both senses of the word) but rather the “birth” of a new era where the Gospel would spread rapidly based on the dispersion of Jesus’ disciples. It would, however, mean that the destruction of the temple was not the end of the suffering but was a continuation of it, as they were to be Christ’s witnesses to the world.
Please take a few minutes to find encouragement in the midst of difficulty as you read this week’s passage. Also, ask yourself, “Am I able to persevere under the types of conditions and hardships we’re told to expect?” Do you believe we are know living in times like these?