Our scripture this week is Mark 13:24-37, taken today from the New American Standard Bible (NASB).
“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 that are 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 forth the angels, and will gather together His elect from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of heaven. “Now learn the parable from the fig tree: as soon as its branch has become tender and sprouts its leaves, you know that summer is near. So you too, when you see these things happening, recognize that He is near, right at the door. 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 about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. “Watch out, stay alert; for you do not know when the appointed time is. It is like a man away on a journey, who upon leaving his house and putting his slaves in charge, assigning to each one his task, also commanded the doorkeeper to stay alert. Therefore, stay alert—for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, whether in the evening, at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning— so that he does not come suddenly and find you asleep. What I say to you I say to all: ‘Stay alert!’”
Jesus tells us the signs to watch for that indicate His return. He says this that we may be aware of our personal responsibility to be ready – “What I say to you I say to all: ‘Stay alert!’” (v. 37). He has given us the message, now it is up to us to act.
We are called to share the Good News with all the world, but each person must accept joy and the duty of responding. No one can do that for someone else. Each of us must answer “yes Lord!” for ourselves and follow as individuals joined in the body of Christ.
The apostle Paul writes “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1). He says that while there are many to encourage us, we must accomplish the task for ourselves. Jesus Himself calls us to this work and gives us the strength to succeed.
Gracious God, thank You for sending Jesus as our example. Thank You for those of faith who encourage us. May we be strong in Your love and share that joy with all the world. Amen.