Gospel: Mark 13:24–37
“But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.
“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
“But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning—lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.” (ESV)
A Time Like No Other
Unprecedented times. How often this year have you heard those words or some variation of them? When the disciples were with Jesus in Jerusalem in what was to be the week preceding his death and resurrection, they were also in some unprecedented times. The thing was they had some inkling they were on the brink of something big – something like Jesus taking charge of the nation of Israel and they along with him but certainly not something like Jesus going to the cross and resurrecting from the dead three days later. It was a time like no other.
And it’s in the midst of those unprecedented times that Jesus chooses to speak here in Mark 13 of yet another unprecedented time when the Son of Man (Jesus) will come in the clouds with great power and glory and when Heaven and Earth will pass away. But as we look back on the disciples in their time of uncertainty with the knowledge of what was about to come, we also note Jesus’s additional remarks in verse 31: “My words will not pass away.” Jesus’s WORDS during that time like no other – His first coming, which we observe as Christmas – WILL NOT PASS AWAY because they are the words of the New Heaven and New Earth, the words of the Kingdom of God that He spoke of at length throughout the Gospels and the words of that time yet to come where His will be done on earth as in heaven.
Like the disciples in their unprecedented time had no idea what the outcome would be, there is much that we don’t know about how the COVID pandemic will turn out. But what we do know and have are the words that will not pass away, as well as the One who spoke those words; we know His Kingdom will never pass away.
Thy Kingdom come. Friends, it HAS come, and it was an unprecedented time. And it WILL come, and what an unprecedented time that will be! In the meantime, as we experience what will be an unprecedented Christmas here in 2020, we’ll do well to remember that Jesus is already King of Kings and Lord of Lords and that we are here to live and point to the reality of His present and very real Kingdom right in the here and now.
How will the Kingdom show up for you this unprecedented Christmas?
Look for it. Watch for it!
Randy Schmor – Director of NAB Gateway