Editor’s Note: Another in our series focusing on sermons from around the Wesleyan world. In this installment, Adam Kline from Madoc Methodist Church in Madoc, Ontario, Canada, preaches on Mark 13 and the apocalyptic preaching of Jesus:
Setting the Scene:
From Mark 10 to 13, Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem and our road to resurrection, is far from pretty and pleasant. Jesus gives fair warning and even turns seemingly innocent architectural comments into moments of doom and gloom; but why? What purpose does this serve?
It’s a long speech, but it deserves our time and careful attention because in this passage Jesus is talking about time. We should listen to multiple interpretations and hear his speech as a dramatic telling with prophetic purpose.
This or That:
So which is it? Is Jesus talking about the end of time or the end of the temple? The answer is, yes. Both. For Jesus’ disciples the end of the temple was the end of time.
“You see because, for all those who were devoted to the God of Israel, the temple in Jerusalem was the point of divine intersection, the temple was believed to be where heaven and earth met, overlapped, and became as one. The temple was where God revealed himself, where God took action and it was where the end would begin.”
Today is the Same:
We just love to talk about the end of all things. We are so utterly fascinated by end of the world prophecy and prediction. Even our own culture has tapped into this obsession and turned it into entertainment.
“And yet, what’s fascinating to me is that, while some in the church have lost interest in end-times material, our culture has sort of picked it up and dusted it off and done their own thing with it. Have you noticed this? In the last few years there have been some hugely successful TV shows and movies that have not only used the ‘end-times’ as subject matter… but some TV shows and movies have also used Christian concepts for their own fiction.”
What is it Good for:
Mark 13 concludes with Jesus’ emphasis and what we should make the focus of our faith, which is, today. Our care and concern should be for today and what God is doing and inviting us to join Him in here, in the present, because even the Son of God does not know when the end will come.
“But you see Jesus wants to give us pause, Jesus wants to give us warning, because Jesus wants us to see the bigger picture and the better story. And you see, Jesus wants to warn us because he knows how easy it is for us to get distracted, to fixate on the wrong things, to ignore our responsibilities, our responsibilities for this planet and for all people. Jesus knows how easy it is for us to focus on the wrong signs or the wrong interpretations of scripture, and so he tells us to watch out…Jesus says, be careful, because there are some things we are never meant to know, there are some things that will forever remain a mystery of God. And you know what? That’s ok, because we don’t need to know when the end will come…we don’t need to know such things because we need only to live for today. We need only to be alert and be attentive to what the Spirit of God is doing around us and within us today!”