“…When will these things be…?” Christ’s disciples asked when Jesus spoke of the impending destruction of the temple (Mark 13: 1-4). The disciples knew something bad of epic proportions was coming if the temple of God would end in obliteration. The disciples’ concerns mounted as they sought to know the timing of this cataclysmic event.
Maybe the disciples were content with the response Jesus gave. However, I found His explanation left my head spinning with new questions. Jesus talks about wars and earthquakes, persecutions, deceptions, and abominations. These things have been going on for millenniums now with no end in sight.
As I read through today’s verses again, I began to see Jesus’ commands to us in regards to these events. Oddly enough, I grew up in a very eschatologically focused church. We were always talking about the “end times.” But, the Church did not emphasize these commands of Jesus. Let’s look at them.
Jesus told us in the midst of His revelation to:
- “…see that no one leads you astray” (v:5),
- “…do not be alarmed” (v:7),
- “Be on your guard” (v:9),
- “…do not be anxious” (v:11),
- “… endure to the end” (v:13),
- “…be on guard” (v:23),
- “Be on guard, keep awake” (v:33),
- “…stay awake” (v:35),
- “…I say to all: Stay awake” (v:37).
Jesus’ commands here seem to have one focus – “Stay close to God!” Of course, what other message would Jesus give? If someone is going to attempt to deceive us with a counterfeit; the best defense is to know the authentic original. We are to be close enough to God that we know His voice and cannot be deceived by another.
When the danger of war surrounds us, how can we not be alarmed? When there is persecution, how can we not be anxious? When terrible things are going on all around us, how can we endure? It is only by remaining close to our Father in heaven who has complete control over all things. What is alarming you and making you anxious today? Draw close to your Father who loves you.
Christians are called by their Savior to be on their guard. We are to have heightened senses to our surroundings. We are to be aware of what is going on in the human world around us. We are to be aware of what the attempts to do around us. And most importantly, we are to be aware of where God is moving around us. This is accomplished by drawing close to Him.
Jesus tells us that the danger is that we won’t be on guard but will rather fall asleep instead. We will be lulled asleep by the continuing monotony of routine and struggle of life as we wait for Jesus’ return. Sleeping servants will not be profitable servants. His command to us, again, is to be on guard, be watchful, and stay awake.
So, we need to ask ourselves, where are we? Are we continuing to draw closer and closer to our Father as we near the end time? Or have we allowed the concerns of our daily lives to lull us to sleep? Do not allow yourself to fall asleep, heed the words of Jesus and stay close. Stay awake!