Day 15: Be On Guard, But Do Not Be Anxious
Mark 13:3-13 (ESV)
And as he sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are about to be accomplished?” And Jesus began to say to them, “See that no one leads you astray. Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray. And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. This must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains. “But be on your guard. For they will deliver you over to councils, and you will be beaten in synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them. And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations. And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. And brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death. And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
Jesus’ words then struck fear, I am sure, into his followers, and they probably sound an alarm today to those of us, his believers. “When you hear of wars & rumors of wars, don’t be alarmed. This must take place, but the end is not yet. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, there will be famine. These are the beginning of the birth pains. But be on your guard. For they will deliver you over to councils, and you will be beaten, and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake. And brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will be save.”
These words certainly cause us to be on guard, as they did the disciples, who experienced all that Jesus warned of, as all followers of Jesus throughout history have experienced, and followers of Christ are experiencing today.
Yet, it does not mean that the earthquakes, wars, rumors of wars, and famines happening around us today mean that the end of the world is certain. These could go on for thousands of years more. The common theme and the message for us today, I believe is to be on guard, do not be anxious, lean on the Holy Spirit during tough times, and endure until the end. I’ve made this a rallying cry for me as I struggle with what may be the end of my life. “Finish well!”
Rev. Andy Bales
President/CEO of Union Rescue Mission