Children are so fun to watch as birthdays or Christmas approach. They are so excited that they can’t wait for the gifts and surprises that await them. They wait and they watch.
In Mark 13 the disciples ask Jesus about what to look for with the end of days. Jesus started by telling them something that would happen in the relatively near future: the destruction of the temple, “not one stone here will be left on another.” (vs 2 NIV) Per history, this happened in 70 AD under Emperor Titus.
He goes on to tell them to watch out and be on guard against false christs, because many would come claiming to be the messiah. The followers of the true Christ would be hated, persecuted, tried, tortured and killed. He warned them to always watch, and stand firm.
Then He quotes from the prophet Isaiah: “’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.’ At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.” (vs 24-26 NIV)
“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.” (vs 32-33 NIV) No one knows! I find it amusing when people announce that they have figured out the date of Christ’s return. No one knows except the Father.
Several times throughout this chapter the theme is repeated: Be on guard! Be ready! Be alert! Watch! We need to be ready for the coming of the Lord. There was hymn we used to sing by Lelia Morris, called “What If It Were Today?” The last verse is a challenge to us: “Faithful and true would He find us here, If He should come today? Watching in gladness and not in fear, If He should come today? Signs of His coming multiply, Morning light breaks in the eastern sky; Watch! For the time is drawing nigh—What if it were today?” What if He returned today? Would He find you busy with His work? Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (NIV) Jesus ends Mark 13 by saying, “What I say to you, I say to everyone, ‘Watch!’” (NIV) Keep looking! Keep working! It could be today!