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Jesus talks about scary things and his return.

Jesus prophesies? indeed!

The end of times?

Jesus foretells—near future, distant future.

Have you ever asked someone a question

having no idea just how significant their response

would be?! You asked for a drink of water, but

got the hose turned on you, so to speak. This is that.

Jesus was the fulfillment of dozens of specific prophecies given 500 to 700 years before his birth. He is who he said he was – the Son of God, the promised Messiah. And Jesus was a brilliant teacher as we have seen. Sometimes he responded to a question by asking a question in return, but not this time. In this most critical week in the life of Jesus and all of the world really, the disciples asked him a question to which he gave his longest spoken answer—a prediction of the future.

But first, a prayer: “Dear Father, open the eyes of our hearts and minds that we might comprehend what you foretold 2000 years ago. Give us understanding so we will be ready—as forewarned is also forearmed. In your mighty name we ask this, Amen.”

[I took the above photo standing on the Mt. of Olives, looking at the Temple Mount...the ancient Jewish cemetery in the foreground, Kidron Valley center stage.]

Mark writes, “As Jesus was leaving the Temple that day, one of his disciples said, “Teacher, look at these magnificent buildings! Look at the impressive stones in the walls.”

2Jesus replied, “Yes, look at these great buildings. But they will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!” >Jesus is foretelling the demise of the Temple, which happens when Jerusalem is destroyed in A.D. 70.

3Later, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives across the valley from the Temple. Peter, James, John, and Andrew came to him privately and asked him, 4“Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will show us that these things are about to be fulfilled?” The disciples are referring to the Temple, but Jesus gives them a much wider-angle view of the future in his response.

Remember, by week's end, Jesus will be crucified, and on Sunday, resurrected. He remained for 40 more days and then ascended into Heaven from the Mt. of Olives. What Jesus described next applies to the time from his ascension into Heaven and today.

>There will be false teaching Jesus replied, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in many parts of the world, as well as famines. But this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.

>There will be persecution of Jesus followers 9 When these things begin to happen, watch out! You will be handed over to the local councils and beaten in the synagogues. You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me. For the Good News must first be preached to all nations. But when you are arrested and stand trial, don’t worry in advance about what to say. Just say what God tells you at that time, for it is not you who will be speaking, but the Holy Spirit.

“A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed. 13 And everyone will hate you because you are my followers. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

>The period of Tribulation begins 14 The day is coming when you will see the sacrilegious object that causes desecration standing where he (the Antichrist) should not be.” (Reader, pay attention!) “Then those in Judea must flee to the hills. A person out on the deck of a roof must not go down into the house to pack. A person out in the field must not return even to get a coat. How terrible it will be for pregnant women and for nursing mothers in those days. And pray that your flight will not be in winter. For there will be greater anguish in those days than at any time since God created the world. And it will never be so great again. In fact, unless the Lord shortens that time of calamity, not a single person will survive. But for the sake of his chosen ones he has shortened those days.

21 Then if anyone tells you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah,’ or ‘There he is,’ don’t believe it.

22 For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God’s chosen ones. Watch out! I have warned you about this ahead of time!

>The second coming of Jesus Christ to establish his kingdom 24 At that time, after the anguish of those days, the sun will be darkened, the moon will give no light, the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds with great power and glory. And he will send out his angels to gather his chosen ones from all over the world—from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven.

28 Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branches bud and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things taking place, you can know that his return is very near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene before all these things take place. Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.

32 “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows. And since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert!

34 The coming of the Son of Man can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. When he left home, he gave each of his slaves instructions about the work they were to do, and he told the gatekeeper to watch for his return. You, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know when the master of the household will return—in the evening, at midnight, before dawn, or at daybreak. Don’t let him find you sleeping when he arrives without warning. I say to you what I say to everyone: Watch for him!”

Wow! Practically speaking, what are we to take from this? Jesus is coming back again and though we do not know what day that will be, we must be ready for his return. There will be those who make end times claims, including about the Antichrist and about the date of Jesus’ return. Be wise. Recognize and stay away from false teachers.

Remember, this is a glimpse of the future, not a detailed outline, but Jesus reminds us that God is in control.

Jesus Christ could return any day. Are you ready? Here's the thing--he said he would die, rise again ... he said his followers would be persecuted unto death...he said the Temple would be destroyed. Each happened as he said. His track record is trustworthy. Yup, he's coming back.

and that makes me wanna keep first things first, listen:


in the footsteps of Jesus, gospel of Mark, #43

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