SERIES: The Gospel of Mark
TITLE: Week #10 – Anticipating What’s to Come
We continue our Gospel of Mark series this Sunday as Pastor Zac shares from Mark 13. Get ready to dive in! Here is a preview of weekend’s message.
A. Truth for life: What we anticipate influences the actions we take.
B. As we continue our study through the Gospel of Mark, we come to chapter 13. In this, Jesus has an interesting conversation with the disciples. He shares with them a picture of what would come and still is to come.
C. Jesus gives them something to anticipate and calls them to specific action.
THE PROMISE OF WHAT’S TO COME – (Mark 13:24-37)
A. As the conversation found in Mark 13 concludes, Jesus points to the hopeful promise of what’s to come…his second coming!
B. To understand the fullness and the context of what Jesus is saying and teaching his disciples and us today, let’s go back to the start of the chapter and walk through this conversation.
THE DESTRUCTION OF THE TEMPLE PREDICTED – (Mark 13:1-2)
A. The Temple was still under construction and not finished. Despite this, it had the reputation of being massive and one of the most beautiful buildings in the world.
B. Jesus used this moment to share some devastating and most likely, shocking, news as he foretells the coming destruction of the Temple. As we look at history, we see that in 70 AD what Jesus predicted would come true as the Temple was destroyed and Jerusalem sacked by Rome.
THE DISCIPLES HAVE QUESTIONS – (Mark 13:3-4)
A. Perplexed and probably a little bothered by what Jesus had said, four of the disciples pull Jesus aside and ask him to share more.
B. The Two Questions:
1. When will these things happen?
2. What sign should we look for?
C. Jesus addresses their questions – giving a lengthy answer/discourse filled with both difficult and hopeful words.
D. But how are we to take and understand his words? What is he specifically referring to in these passages? How should we interpret these verses?
1. Three Common Interpretations:
a. All of Mark 13 describes both the destruction of the Temple (70 AD) and the days of Jesus’s promised second coming.
b. The first part of the prophecy (Mark 13:2-23) deals only with the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem, and then the last part (Mark 13:24-27) changes focus to address the return of Jesus.
c. All of Mark 13 deals with the destruction of the Temple only and says nothing of Jesus’s return.
2. I tend to lean into the second interpretation: to see that the majority of vs. 2-23 are dealing with the specific events and days leading up to the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD. Then the focus switches to the promised second coming and return of Jesus in vs. 24.
3. Whether you hold that specific interpretation or not- there are some very important and powerful words, promises, and commands that we find here in the words of Jesus. All of which can and do apply to our lives today as well as what was and is still to come.
LIVING IN DIFFICULT DAYS – (Mark 13:5-13)
A. Jesus doesn’t give specific dates and times in answering their question. He describes events but does so in a general way.
B. It seems he is more concerned at that moment with preparing his disciples for what is to come – helping them anticipate what lies ahead – and equipping them with how they should act in light of these things.
C. Living in Difficult Days:
1. Be Discerning (Mark 13:5-6)
a. Being discerning is always challenging, but it can be even more so when we are doing through hard times.
2. Do Not Be Alarmed (Mark 13:7-8)
a. In this broken world there will be strife. There will be war and conflict. There will be disasters. But do not panic. Do not be alarmed. Not every conflict, natural disaster or even rumor of war means that what I am prophesying is beginning to take place.
b. Birth pains – the process of giving birth // Jesus bringing his Kingdom – the new creation – this new place and start.
c. How do we not be alarmed – we can trust in the sovereignty, strength, and power of God in these times.
3. Be On Guard (Mark 13:9-10)
a. “Be on Guard” – to be cautious and careful. To be aware and discerning in persecution. b. Their faithful endurance will take the Gospel to the world.
4. Do Not Be Anxious (Mark 13:11)
a. When you are brought before those in authority – don’t worry about what you will say in those moments. The Holy Spirit will speak for you.
b. It’s a promise that they are not alone – that the Holy Spirit will be with them; helping and empowering them when they face trials.
5. Be Faithful (Mark 13:12-13)
a. This is not an easy word to hear…families will be divided. People will betray those close to them. They will be hated because of your faith in Jesus. But endure – be faithful. It is through faithfulness that true faith is revealed.
D. We read in Acts and see in history how the disciples and the early church suffered great persecution in their days.
1. Many suffered and died because of their faith and God used them to spread the Gospel all across this world. But they were not the only ones.
E. Believers, throughout history, and even today, live in difficult days – maybe not identical days – but we experience difficulty.
1. Some believers today experience persecution.
a. While we in the US live mostly in freedom and the ability to freely practice our faith – there are many across the world who do not.
b. Some of us even face persecution and/or opposition here.
2. Some believers today experience temptation – the temptation to become stagnant in their faith because they are not experiencing opposition.
F. In a fallen and broken world – we live in difficult days of many kinds and can follow Jesus’s words found here.
THE TEMPLE TO BE DESTROYED – (Mark 13:14-16)
A. Jesus continues by pointing to a specific event that will occur – one in which his followers will need to anticipating. He tells them not the exact details of what and when, but gives them enough to know when they see it.
B. He also gives them guidance of how to act and respond when they do.
1. “Abomination of Desolation” – a detestable thing. Repulsive or offensive.
2. First mentioned in the OT book of Daniel (11:31). It’s an idolatrous act, object, or person that makes the Temple desolate of worshippers.
3. What is this referring to here?
a. Daniel’s OT mention: Fulfilled when Antiochus IV erected an altar or image of Zeus in the Jerusalem Temple in 167 BC.
b. Jesus’ mention: The fall and destruction of the Temple in 70AD
c. Some believe that there is still another fulfillment still to come involving the Antichrist mentioned in Revelation.
4. Jesus doesn’t specifically say, but in these moments – what we know specifically here – Jesus says that it is best to flee these events – not even stopping to grab your possessions. Why? Because of how horrific it will be.
a. In the days of the destruction of the Temple – many did flee the city as Jesus predicated and encouraged here.
5. It will be a time of great tribulation and difficulty. God’s mercy is the only hope. 6. It will be tempting to seek help in false messiah’s – but be on guard.
C. This is true for us today – while this may focus most specifically on what has historically happened; these are lessons we can learn from as well today.
1. Believers still face persecution. Believers still face trials and tribulation. And we will more and more as we await the return of Jesus.
2. So we need to be on guard – and we need to know where to turn for hope!
HOPE IS ON THE HORIZON – (Mark 13:24-27)
A. Jesus now changes focus from the seemingly hopelessness of these events to the hope we can have in Him. He points to what is still to come for us…the certain promise of His return!
1. “But in those days” –
a. “But” – contrasts what follows with what preceded. This seems to be referring to what is to come in the last days.
2. “After that tribulation” – after a time of great trial and struggle – not only what has been experienced but more specifically, what will be experienced in the days to come – when things seem like that could not get any worse…he will return.
3. His return will be marked with cosmic phenomena. Creation will react to the coming of Jesus.
4. He will gather his “elect” – those who are His. Who have placed their faith and trust in Him. He will come for us and will rescue us.
5. In this, Jesus gave his disciples and gives us as his followers today great hope. The promise of deliverance and salvation.
SO WHAT ARE WE TO DO? – (Mark 13:28-37)
A. In light of these things what are we are to do?
B. Two Responses:
1. Look with Anticipation for Christ’s Return (Mark 13:28-31)
a. Looking forward to the day of Jesus return. Expecting and desiring this. This should not be an afterthought or simply something we believe – it should be something we
anticipate…something we look forward to.
b. Learn from the fig tree. In Jesus’ day, the disciples would have understood this parable. The turning of the leaves of the fig tree would indicate the coming of summer. It was a sure sign. Something to anticipate and know was coming soon.
c. We can know – from what Jesus has said and promised in His Word – that the time of his return is coming.
2. Live to Act in light of Christ’s Return (Mark 13:32-37)
a. Not only do we live with anticipation – but what we are anticipating should affect the actions we are taking.
b. We are to “keep awake”-
1. We are to be alert. Not asleep to the things of God.
2. He will come quickly – and when he does, there will not be time to take care of things we wished we would have done. There will be no last-minute confessions or sharing the gospel. We need to live each day as though it is the last.
c. Parable: the doorkeeper’s role was to stay awake and look for the return of the master.
d. We as Jesus followers should live in anticipation of Jesus’ return and be active at doing the work of the Kingdom that he has given us to do.
e. What is this work?
1. Growing in our knowledge of Him.
2. Following Him in obedience and faithfulness.
a. Loving God and loving others.
3. Sharing the Gospel with others.
4. Working for the Kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven.
5. Enduring trials and tribulation.
6. Making much of Jesus in all we say, all we are, and all we do.
A. What we anticipate influences the actions we take.
B. We are called to live in anticipation of Jesus’s return. We are called to be active at the work of the Kingdom that He has given us to do.
C. Are you ready for Jesus to return? Have you embraced the Gospel and been forgiven of your sin? D. Are you looking with anticipation for Christ’s return? Are you living to act in light his coming soon?
ICEBREAKER QUESTIONS & DISCUSSION
Opening Discussion: Anticipation and Action
Start with these questions: What are you anticipating? What are you or have you recently been looking forward to?
There is a correlation between anticipation and action. It could be said this way: What we anticipate influences the actions we take. Would you agree?
How can what we anticipate influence the actions we take? Can you give an example?
Before diving into the lesson, let’s take some time to share God moments and pray together. Use the following questions to guide your discussion.
1. What are the “God moments” from this past week? How have you seen God at work that is unmistakably Him?
a. How has He been working not just in your life personally, but in the lives of your family (spouse, kids, grandkids)?
b. Are you able to leverage the different pace that summer often brings to spend more time together as a family? How has God been working through this if so?
2. How did God speak to you through His Word this past week?
a. How are you hearing and obeying?
3. How can we specifically pray for you this week?
Pray as a group – thanking God for how He is at work and asking Him to answer the requests that were mentioned.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Ask and discuss the following questions.
Q: What two questions do the disciples ask Jesus in Mark 13:4? Have you ever asked Jesus a similar question? Tell the group about it.
Q: Read Mark 13:5-13. What can we learn from Jesus’s words about living during difficult times?
Q: Why is faithfulness during times of difficulty and trials so important? Why is it a challenging thing to maintain?
Q: How have you or someone you known stayed faithful during difficult times? How can this encourage others?
Q: What does it mean to “be on guard”? How do we live this way day-in and day-out? Q: What hope does Jesus give his followers for the future in this chapter?
Q: How do live with anticipation for Christ’s return?
Q: What could distract us from living with this anticipation? How do we keep the right focus? Q: How should we live differently in light of the promise of Christ’s return?
What we anticipate influences the actions we take. It’s important that we look in anticipation of Christ’s return and live in light of this promise!
Use the following questions to wrap-up your discussion of today’s message and talk more about how we can apply it to our lives.
1. What did you hear?
a. What is your one “take-away” from this week?
b. How did God speak specifically to you through this passage and study?
2. What do you think?
a. How did this passage and study affirm, challenge, or change the way you think about the love of God?
3. What will you do?
a. What is your next step? How will you take the truth of God’s Word and apply it to your life this week?
SCRIPTURES FROM THIS WEEK’S MESSAGE:
▪ Mark 3:1-37
UPCOMING MESSAGES: “The Gospel of Mark”
▪ July 18 – Mark 13:1-37
▪ July 25 – Mark 14:53-65
▪ August 1 – Mark 15:21-39
▪ August 8- Mark 16:1-8