Mark 13: 32 – 37 The day and hour unknown

Mark 13: 32 – 37 The day and hour unknown

[… Jesus said to them]:

‘But about that day or hour no one knows, 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. 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.

‘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!” ’

*       *       *

This is a continuation of yesterday’s study. One of Jesus’ disciples had commented on the magnificence of the temple buildings. Jesus had replied that they would be torn down and not one stone left standing. Peter, James, John and Andrew had asked him privately when this would happen, and what would be the sign that it was imminent. In the course of his answer, Jesus said, “At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 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.” This is the context in which we need to read today’s passage.

*       *       *

‘But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

Some people consider that Jesus, as the Son of God, must have been omniscient. However, this sentence is Jesus’ own statement that he does not know the hour of his second coming. That suggests that he isn’t omniscient. In fact, it seems to fit much better with all we know of Jesus from the gospels; he needs to pray, and he withdraws from those around him so as not to be distracted when he prays. Besides, why should he be omniscient? If he were, he surely wouldn’t be fully human, would he?

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.

We have been left in charge of God’s house, and each of us has been assigned a task.

What does it mean to be on guard? It means to be conscientious, doing each task as well as possible and not leaving tasks unfinished.

What does it mean that the task has been assigned? It means that God himself has directed what we shall do.

Sometimes the task may seem menial, but there are always plenty of menial jobs to be done in any household. Remember, when you are called to serve others, rejoice! – because you are following the example of Jesus. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10: 45)

Remember, too, that we are assigned tasks for our own benefit as well as for the benefit of the household. For example, even if we are gifted, we may not be called to serve in the area of our gifting, so that we can learn humility. Or we may find our task seems almost beyond our strength. That may be to teach us to rely more on God.

Being alert also means listening (by which I mean prayerful listening). God may want to teach us how to do the task better, or move us from one task to another.

Listening to God is in any case always a good thing, because God wants us to know him through Jesus. “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1Thessalonians 5:16 – 18)

‘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!” ’

Jesus encourages us to watch.

In a way, it’s almost surprising that he needs to do this. Surely it’s an immense privilege to serve God in his kingdom? “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.” (Psalm 84: 10)

Nevertheless, we must watch, we are called to watch. May God grant us all the strength and enthusiasm to be found busy and our tasks complete!

Prayer

Heavenly Father

Thank you for calling me to serve you. Please help me to do it as well as I can, not shirking any task you give me.

In Jesus’ name, Amen

Published by pennygadd51

I write. I've written many pieces of flash fiction, dozens of short stories and two novels, with a third in progress.

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