Summary: Mark 13 shows us the attitudes of being intent, confident, and expressive will bring us victory in the evil days in which we live.
As we look at Mark chapter 13, we notice an overwhelming sense of doom in our future. We are told that "nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines and troubles. And these are (just) the beginning of sorrows."(Mark 13:8) But along with this we have the blessed assurance that God will be with us and that God will reign in our lives and the world despite our troubles. This mingling of unprecedented troubles with the never before seen glory of God is summed up in Mark 13:11, "When they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that: for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit."
Today is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. As we extend our prayers and thoughts to our brothers and sisters who suffer, it is wise for us to realize that some of the very things mentioned in Mark chapter 13, like earthquakes, famines, and arrest and trials of believers are already happening in some places in this world. Life is not easy. It’s getting more and more difficult for Christians. But the good news is there are attitudes that we can have in our life that will lead us to the victory in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I. Intent The first attitude we must have is being intent upon knowing God and pleasing Him. The word "watch" is repeated four times in verses 33-37 of this chapter. But if we go back to the original language the word used for "watch" in verse 33 is different than the words for "watch" in 34, 35, and 37. In verse 33, the word translated "watch" is agrupneo, which means not mere wakefulness, but the ’watchfulness’ of those who are intent upon a thing. Agrupneo is also used for watch in Ephesians 6:18 and Hebrews 13:17. These verses shed light on the meaning of the intentional aspect of watching.
Illustration: As a child I waited to hear then presidential candidate Ronald Reagan speak in Saginaw, Michigan in 1979. He was late and they had other speakers stall for him, but that wouldn’t satisfy us. We were watching with a specific purpose. Nobody except presidential candidate Ronald Reagan would satisfy us. It was the most important thing to the crowd. It consummed us.
Everybody is intent upon something. The question is what will it be. The warning for us is that there are people trying to get us off track from what our purpose should be as Christians. We should not be deceived by people who wish to shift our attention away from God (see verses 5, and 21-23). We ought to be intent upon knowing God and pleasing Him.
II. Confident We must also be confident as Christians. In this passage we hear in verse 7 that we are not to be troubled and in verse 11 that we are not to worry. I must confess that there’s a lot of lack of confidence in me at times. I grew up around people that worried, and I guessed it rubbed off.
Now in Mark 13, we are viewing the most difficult situation the world will ever encounter. Clearly Mark is talking about the end of the world and the time leading up to the return of Christ. If we can have confidence in the face of the destruction of the end of the world, we can have confidence today as we deal with an ungodly supervisor, an uncertain job future, bills that we don’t know how to pay, and troubles that seem insurmountable in our day to day lives.
Francois Fenelon, a French Bishop of the 17th century said, "Don’t worry about the future--worry quenches the work of grace within you. The future belongs to God. He is in charge of all things. Never second-guess him."
We can have this confidence because God is with us and He will be victorious in the end. We know the end of the story, don’t we. A foretelling of the end of the most important story is found in this chapter. Mark 13:26 says, "Then they will see the Son of Man (Jesus) coming in the clouds with great power and glory. Now if that word doesn’t bring confidence, I don’t know what will. Jesus is going to come with great power and glory someday and His Spirit is real today as verse 11 says, speaking for us.
III. Expressive The final attitude than an intent and confident follower of Christ needs to have to be victorious is being expressive. Expressive means that our life should show feeling and meaning of the name of Jesus. All that we are and go through is to be a testimony to the name of Jesus (vs. 9, 13).