questioning Jesus, Mark 13, ‘when‘

5 Sep

on this Mount, Jesus speaks to his closest disciples

When I first arrived in Jerusalem from London on a early spring Saturday, our hotel was not ready to house us. Too early,
Outside the American Colony was a queue of cabs. Taking the first, I asked the cab driver my ‘go to question:’
“Where would you go? What would you do, where would you go if you were visiting Jerusalem this early?”
As always, from restaurants to theatre shows and places to see, people I asked who managed these moments, said ‘well what would you prefer, like?’ They always responded this way. I say,
No. I want to know what you would do ( or eat; or go ) this day- not yesterday or tomorrow. Today.
Then they tell me the truth. What they would eat. Do. See. Their truth. And their truth becomes mine. Mine.
Jesus’ disciples I think are like me in those moments. Leaving the temple after his follower marvelled at stone temple, Jesus walks the long narrow and hilly path up Mount of Olives.
This where my Arab cab driver took us. At the top of the Mount of Olives he left and said, Okay, this is what I would do today, this day. Walk on down to the Mount’s bottom. No money now. I will meet you in two hours, two and half hours, at the the bottom, the Garden of Gethsemane.

the garden
the Mount is behind the garden church

And this is where Jesus de briefs his comments concerning the temple’s coming destruction,

“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, I am 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 disciples desire clarity, tell us, when, Lord. When? When will the end times come? When?

And in over a half dozen ‘when’ signal words, ( ‘now’; ‘at that time’ )Jesus tells his closest disciples, as they face the temple from the Mount’s heights, how to know:

“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….

37 Watch!”

We will know when by watching. As the Wise and Foolish Bridesmaids, ( Matthew 25: 1 – 13 ) we must always, all ways, watch.

Watch.

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