Summary: Exposition of Mark 13:28-37 about the conclusion of the Olivet Discourse and its main application to watch and pray for the end is near
Text: Mark 13:28-37, Title: Redbuds, Baseball, & Turkeys Gobblin’, Date/Place: NRBC, 2/1/09, PM
A. Opening illustration: Redbuds, Baseball, & Turkeys Gobblin’
B. Background to passage: this is the closing of the Olivet Discourse, except for the portions found in Matthew 24-25. And most of them carry the same message as what is finally found here in Mark. Jesus is driving home the main application of this teaching about the end times: you know that they are coming by the signs that you will see, you are not given the exact date, the Son doesn’t even know, but the beginning is now, the Word of God is sure and enduring, so now as good stewards do what you know to do! And even though this entire chapter is laden with numerous imperatives,
C. Main thought: Jesus boils them down to the two main things—watch and pray.
A. Watch (v. 28-29)
1. The word here is interesting. It connotes a duty of diligent alertness, vigilance, a mindfulness of threatening dangers which, with conscious earnestness and an alert mind, keeps it from all drowsiness and all slackening in the energy of faith and conduct, to take heed lest through remission and indolence some destructive calamity suddenly overtake one. The idea is to be on guard as a sentry. It is a wartime word. The picture is of a soldier keenly watching for any usual phenomenon, and staying alert and awake so that he could faithfully discharge his post. Jesus is saying, “have your eyes in the skies, your ear to the ground, and be faithful in carrying out your duties. Jesus is admonishing them to remember that their knowledge and foresight to the end times should motivate and drive them to doing their work better. And their job was the protection of the things that belong to the Master. And their sole responsibility was to see that it was done and done well and done until the coming of the Master.
2. 1 Cor 16:13; Col 4:2; 1 Thess 5:6; 1 Pet 5:8; Rev 3:2-3, 16:15, 1 Pet 5:8, Luk 12:37, Heb 10:25,
3. Illustration: “The disciple is not called to eliminate his ignorance of the timing of the end, he is called to cope with it and respond to it appropriately.” “How can a doorkeeper fulfill his duties if he spends his time calculating how long the delay will be?” In the temple, during the night, the captain of the temple made his rounds, and the guards had to rise at his approach and salute him in a particular manner. Any guard found asleep on duty was beaten, or his garments set on fire, A gardener for a large estate in northern Italy was conducting a visitor through the castle and the beautiful, well-groomed grounds. As the visitor had lunch with the gardener and his wife, he commended them for the beautiful way they were keeping the gardens. He asked, "By the way, when was the last time the owner was here? He said, "I was about ten years ago." The visitor asked, "Then why do you keep the gardens in such an immaculate, lovely manner?" He said, "Because I’m expecting him to return." He persisted, "Is he coming next week?" The gardener replied, "I don’t know when he is coming, but I am expecting him today." Although he didn’t come that day, he was living in the light of the owner’s imminent return. The gardener wasn’t hanging over the gate, watching down the road to see whether his master was coming. He was in the garden, trimming, cutting, mowing, weeding, and planting. He was busy.
4. We are entrusted with one life, one precious lifetime to give away to the Master. And regarding His return, he asked that we watch and work. How do we faithfully carry out our duties as a guard of His things and a steward of life that we are given? We are faithfully doing what we can to win the world. Tell about the retiree who has witnessed to 11,000 people in three years. Essentially our eternal life is to know and love God with all of our being. Are you faithfully pursuing that goal? This is your post, what steps are you taking to love Him more? Part of our duty is to lay aside every weight in us and in the church that will hinder us from reaching our full potential to bring glory to Jesus. Are their things that get in your way of doing that? Things in NRBC’s way? Do we need to slim down to a wartime mentality of consumption and reexamine our real commitment to the kingdom? The question is not am I still in church, saying my prayers, reading my bible that fully demonstrates our faithfulness. But are we wasting our lives, or investing them in risky kingdom ventures that will bring much fruit, many souls, and much glory? Finally, note the blessing of those found watching when Christ returns. What will Christ say in His evaluation of our stewardship and our watchfulness.