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The Importance of Knowing Christ


Mark 13: 1-31

Mark 13 is one of the most discussed, interpreted, and misunderstood chapters in the Bible.

But I believe that this passage is talking about something else.

This morning we are going to deal with the first 32 verses…we will cover vs. 33-37 next week.

Now, as we approach what Jesus has to say in this discourse there are some things I want you to keep in mind.

Also, keep in mind that Jesus has already touched on the idea that the Jewish nation and religious system was heading for impending doom.

 Vs. 1:  And as He was going out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, behold what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!

Now we don’t know for sure what prompted one of Jesus’ disciples to make this statement about the temple.

But at any rate, one of His disciples says, “Jesus, isn’t this an impressive place. Look at how huge and grandiose these stones and buildings are.”

 Now, look at Jesus’ answer; vs. 2.      And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone shall be left upon another which will not be torn down.”3           And as He was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew were questioning Him privately, 4        “Tell us, when will these things be, and what {will be} the sign when all these things are going to be fulfilled?”

Jesus’ answer had to have shaken them to their very roots.

Now that is amazing and probably a better term would be “shocking!”

And so Peter, James, John and Andrew come to Him and question Him and they ask Him, “When will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are going to be fulfilled?”

So, look at what Jesus says. And as we go through this, I want you to notice that what Jesus says here is more exhortation than it is future telling.

Vs 5:   And Jesus began to say to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. 6 “Many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am {He!’} and will mislead many.  “And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be frightened; {those things} must take place; but {that is} not yet the end. 8          “For nation will arise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will {also} be famines. These things are {merely} the beginning of birth pangs. 9 “But be on your guard; for they will deliver you to {the} courts, and you will be flogged in {the} synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them. 10 “And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations. 11″And when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not be anxious beforehand about what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but {it is} the Holy Spirit. 12 “And brother will deliver brother to death, and a father {his} child; and children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. 13 “And you will be hated by all on account of My name, but the one who endures to the end, he shall be saved.

Now in this text there are three calls for these disciples. Number one is a call for Perception.

Second, there is a call of Persecution.

And that brings us to the third call to the disciples and that is a call for Perseverance.

 So here in these verses Jesus tells these disciples that prior to the time that the temple is destroyed they are going to see all these false prophets…there is going to be a time of persecution…

Now we come to a warning that I think was specially intended for the saints in Jerusalem. Look at verse 14-23.

14 “But when you see the abomination of desolation standing where it should not be (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 15   “And let him who is on the housetop not go down, or enter in, to get anything out of his house; 16      and let him who is in the field not turn back to get his cloak. 17         “But woe to those who are with child and to those who nurse babes in those days! 18 “But pray that it may not happen in the winter. 19 “For those days will be a {time of} tribulation such as has not occurred since the beginning of the creation which God created, until now, and never shall. 20   “And unless the Lord had shortened {those} days, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect whom He chose, He shortened the days. 21 “And then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ’; or, ‘Behold, {He is} there’; do not believe {him;} 22        for false Christs and false prophets will arise, and will show signs and wonders, in order, if possible, to lead the elect astray. 23 “But take heed; behold, I have told you everything in advance.

Now it is amazing what people can find in these verses.

But before we start answering that question, will you look at the first three words. Look in verse 14, the first three words.

Now what does He mean by the “abomination of desolation”?

20  “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is at hand.

And look at what they are supposed to do: 21 “Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are in the midst of the city depart, and let not those who are in the country enter the city; 22 because these are days of vengeance, in order that all things which are written may be fulfilled.

When they saw Jerusalem surrounded by “armies” then they would know that the temple was soon to be destroyed.

Now go back to Mark 13 and look at verse 14 again.

And in verse 19 Jesus says that the “trouble” that is about to fall on the city of Jerusalem…nothing before or since has ever been like it in terms of suffering.

Eusebius, a church historian, says that the Christians did exactly what Jesus said here.

But that is not what most of the people did.

Now let’s read on.

23 “But take heed; behold, I have told you everything in advance. 24 “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, 25 and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken. 26 “And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27 “And then He will send forth the angels, and will gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth, to the farthest end of heaven. 28 “Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender, and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. 29 “Even so, you too, when you see these things happening, recognize that He is near, {right} at the door. 30 “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. 31            “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. 32 “But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father {alone.}

People try to make these verses say all kinds of things.

Look at verse 30. He says, ““Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.”

You say, what about this cosmic imagery in verse 23 and 24 and 25, “the sun and the moon and the stars and all of that?”

It is the same with verses 26 and 27, where He says, “The Son of man comes in the clouds”.

In this passage Jesus is describing the destruction of Jerusalem.

For centuries God’s presence was in the temple.

These are hard things to understand. Even so, there are many lessons found in this chapter. Let me quickly share two with you.

  1. First of all, this passage stresses once again how important it is to know Christ and trust in His word and the advantage that comes with knowing His word.

And it is the same for us.

You see, this passage once again reminds us of the importance and benefits of knowing Christ and His word…and believing what His word tells us.

  1. The second lesson is: “Don’t delay.”

Well, today the slightest delay could cost you your soul.