Summary: The most important event in the future is the return of Jesus Christ. In Mark 13, Jesus gives details of His return, but in the first part of the chapter He predicts three things that will happen before He returns.
Predicting the weather is tough sometimes. A group of Sioux Native Americans living in South Dakota asked their tribal chief if it was going to be a cold winter. He said, “I’ll get back to you.” Then he used his cell phone and called the National Weather Service, and they said they were pretty sure it would be a cold winter. The chief went back to his tribe and said, “It’s going to be a cold winter, start gathering firewood.” The members of his tribe asked him again, so he called the Weather Service again and got the same answer. The Chief went back and said, “Keep gathering firewood for a cold winter.” After a few weeks, a member of the tribe asked him again if it was going to be a cold winter. So for the third time he called the National Weather Service. This time the meteorologists said, “Chief, we are now certain that this is going to be one of the coldest winters on record.” The chief said, “What makes you say that?” The meteorologist said, “The members of the Sioux tribe are gathering firewood like crazy!”
Even with all the sophisticated computer models meteorologists have, they still miss a forecast sometimes. And the more extended the forecast, the greater the chance of an error.
Over the next three weeks we’re going to share a mini-series entitled “Jesus’ Extended Forecast.” But Jesus wasn’t making a weather forecast; He makes an amazing forecast about the future. And it is an extended forecast because some of His predictions in Mark 13 still have not yet taken place. And, unlike some weathermen, you can be certain His forecast is accurate.
We are still studying the events in the life of Jesus in the week that lead to the cross. A few days before the crucifixion, Jesus revealed details about the future.
Mark 13:1-13. As Jesus was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!” “Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.” As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked him privately, “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?”
Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.”
“You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them. And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit. “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.”
This is called the Olivet discourse, because Jesus is seated on the Mount of Olives with His disciples looking across at the beautiful Jewish Temple. Mark 13 is a parallel passage with Matthew 24 and Luke 21. During WEBS (Wednesday Evening Bible Study) we have been studying Matthew 24 and Luke 21. During WEBS we get to dig a lot deeper, so if the study of prophecy interests you, you might want to join us right here on Wednesday evenings from 6:00-6:30 p.m.
The most important event in the future is the return of Jesus Christ. In Mark 13 Jesus gives details of His return, but in the first part of the chapter He predicts three things that will happen before He returns.
I. JESUS PREDICTED THAT THE TEMPLE WOULD BE DESTROYED
Jesus said, “Not one stone here will be left upon another; everyone will be thrown down.” The disciples commented to Jesus about the beauty and size of the Temple. Indeed it was a magnificent building. This was the second Temple, and Herod the Great had spent forty years and billions of dollars to upgrade and expand the Temple. The Jewish historian Josephus, who saw it with his own eyes many times, left us this description of it: “Now the outward face of the temple was covered all over with plates of gold of great weight, and, at the first rising of the sun, reflected back a very fiery splendor, and made those who forced themselves to look upon it to turn their eyes away, just as they would have done at the sun's own rays. But this temple appeared to strangers, when they were coming to it at a distance, like a mountain covered with snow; for as to those parts of it that were not gilt, they were exceeding white. On its top it had spikes with sharp points, to prevent any pollution of it by birds sitting upon it. Of its stones, some of them were forty-five cubits (68 feet) in length, five (8 feet) in height, and six (9 feet) in breadth.” (Flavius Josephus, The Jewish Wars, Book V, Chapter 5)