Bible Study for the first Sunday in Advent
Sermons during Advent will be in the form of Bible Study
Mark 13:24-37 Bible Study (p 1063 of pew Bible) Complete
Pastor Michael Jarick
Context: St Matthew’s Gospel records in nearly 5 chapters Jesus’ addresses regarding the end times. Now, as we move into year B of the Church Year we come to St Mark’s shorter account of the same address, beginning with the same words, “And as he sat on the Mount of Olives…” (Matt 24:3 and Mk 13:3). In both cases, disciples come to Jesus and ask, “Tell us when these things will be.” Both accounts also refer to ‘the Abomination of Desolation’. Look up Daniel 9:27.
Vv.24,25 ‘But in those days, following that distress,
‘“the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.”
The Daniel prophecy is regarded as being fulfilled when the temple was desecrated under the Seleucids in the 2nd century BC. Jesus announces a new desolation and destruction which was carried out by the Romans in 70 AD, and ended temple worship and sacrifices. This event foreshadows the end of the world. See Matt 24:5-28 for more about that distress.
‘darkened’ undoes the fourth day of creation.
V.26 ‘At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.
‘Son of Man’ is Jesus’ favourite designation for himself, used 80 times in the Gospels. The term combines the ideas of a suffering servant and the exalted Son of Man who reigns forever. Which aspect of the term is referred to here?
V.27 And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.
Christians will be gathered together in order to separate them from unbelievers.
Vv.28,29 ‘Now learn this lesson from the fig-tree: as soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door.
The fig produces two crops a year and became proverbial for the passing of the seasons. The fig sheds its leaves each autumn, with the new leaves appearing late in spring.
Vv.30,31 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
Within a generation of 40 years the temple would lie in ruins. In verses 28-31 Jesus answers the question the disciples asked in verse 4. Look up John 1:1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
V.32 ‘But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
“Christ according to his human nature… knows some things and is ignorant of others” (Formula of Concord Solid Declaration VIII 74).
Vv.33,34 Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: he leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.
What are you in charge of? What is the task God has assigned you?
Vv.35-37 ‘Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back – whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the cock crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: “Watch!”’
What would constitute ‘sleeping’ when Christ returns? What are you doing to be ready for Christ’s return?
Do you know a ‘Gregory’? In the New Testament, the Greek word for ‘to be alert, to be watchful’ is ‘gregoreo’.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, may we be doing your work while it is day. Keep us strong in faith and active in sharing your light and love. We long for your return into this weary world. Amen.
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