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Mark 13





As we begin our chapter today, I want you to think about the Statue of Liberty and the White House.  These two American objects are symbols of our country.  In our chapter today, Jesus speaks about the temple, which was the symbol for the Jewish people.  Granted, the temple has the spiritual component that Lady Liberty and the White House do not.  However, imagine someone you respected, admired, and held in high regard speak of these American icons being destroyed.  We would be focused on the “how” and “when.”  In verses 1-4, the disciples are imagining what Jesus is predicting.  They want to know “when” and ask for the details.  We do the same thing.  I won’t go into the history of the temple for the sake of time and space, but history tells us that the temple was destroyed in AD 70 when Rome destroyed the temple and the city of Jerusalem.  Some of the disciples were alive when this event took place.  For other Gospel accounts, look at Matthew 24:1-25; Luke 21:5-24.

In verse 3, Jesus is at the Mount of Olives and begins to answer the disciples question of “when.”  Some scholars call this the Olivet discourse.  In Zechariah 14:1-4 the Messiah or Jesus will return here in His 2nd coming to set up His Kingdom.  We read Jesus predict the coming days (in their lifetime) as well as the last days (verses 5-23) and even His return (verse 24-31).  Note that these are not necessarily in chronological order.  Jesus warned the disciples about the future so that they could learn how to live in the present.  The same is true for us.  Jesus told about events that will happen and some of these events have already happened.  However we need to understand that people in every generation claim to know when these events will take place and make predictions.  We must remember that this will happen on God’s timetable and not man’s.  As Jesus said in verse 5, “do not be misled.”  Jesus will repeat another warning at the end of the chapter.

There are two things to note in Mark 13, the last days and the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ.  The main point of Jesus was to prepare the disciples to be watchful and prepared for His coming.  If we will faithfully follow, obey, and serve Him, we will be ready whenever that day will be. 

Jesus gives some signs to point to these two moments.  There will be “false prophets and false messiahs” who will deceive in verse 6.  There will be wars and rumors of wars, but they are just the beginning (verse 7).  Then will come earthquakes and famines (verse 8).  Christians will be persecuted and arrested, but when this happens, we are told to preach Jesus and let the Spirit speak in and through us. (verse 9-11).  Families will be divided and Christ-followers will be hated.  But persevere believer!  This sure doesn’t sound like a “healthy, wealthy, happy life” or what so many popular people are preaching today, does it? 

Verse 14 is a big one.  It refers to events in Israel’s history (see 2 Chronicles 36 and  Daniel 9:27; 11:30, 31) when enemies came into the temple and did unholy things there.  This event is also tied to the future 7 year tribulation in Revelation where the Anti-Christ will proclaim himself god.  These days will be unlike anything our world has ever seen, and let’s remember that our LORD is warning us of these days in verses 15-22.  Just for the sake of clarity, go back and reread 21 and 22 again.  This anti-Christ will be a charmer and a deceiver, so pay attention. 

Mark points us to the clouds to see these signs of the true Messiah’s return.  We won’t have to wonder if someone is the LORD Jesus as we read in verses 24-27.  Everyone will see Him and will look to the sky!  Jesus repeats to us that no one knows when this will take place again in verses 32-36.  He tells us again to be waiting, watching, and to be prepared.  See Matthew 24:36-51 and Luke 21:34-38. 

“I say to you what I say to everyone.  Watch for Him!” Mark 13:37

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Mark 7





By the time we get to this point in the Gospel narrative, the religious leaders of Israel had had just about all of Jesus that they wanted.  So, they started following Him around watching and listening.  Their purpose was not to emulate Him or learn from Him.  They were constantly looking for something to attack Him about. 

Thankfully, Jesus was the perfect man.  That didn’t stop His enemies from trying to attack Him.  It just meant that He never did anything wrong.  Therefore, the attacks wouldn’t stick.  I can’t imagine how tiresome that must have been for Jesus. 

The issue in this chapter seems to be about whether you should wash your hands before you eat or not.  Of course, that really wasn’t the issue but at first read that seems to be the sticking point. 

Before we go further, let me assure that the hand washing dilemma is not about personal hygiene.  We all should probably wash our hands before we eat.  At least that is what my mom tried to teach me.  Instead this hand washing was a religious issue.

In case you are wondering, there is nothing in the Old Testament Law that demanded hand washing before meals.  God never told Israel to do this.  But over the years and centuries, the religious leaders developed a very involved process of hand washing to remove any contamination they might have and to prove their superiority. 

The point of the hand washing was actually to remove any lingering effects from coming in contact with a Gentile or even worse a Samaritan.  As these religious leaders milled around in the market place or on the streets of the city, there was always some possibility that some Gentile or Samaritan came in contact with them.  No self-respecting Jewish religious leader could deal with such contamination.  So, they developed a very elaborate process of washing their hands as well as their cooking utensils to remove the evidence of any contact.

This hand washing was another way that the Jewish religious leaders proved that they were better than everyone else.  It was also another way that they could put down the Gentiles and Samaritans.  It was in the midst of this self-righteousness that they jumped on Jesus because His disciples didn’t wash their hands before they ate.

Jesus didn’t argue with them about the benefits of hand washing.  Instead He reminded the Jewish religious leaders of a couple of things.  One, they had a long habit of changing God’s Law to fit their personal needs.  He actually gave an example of that by reminding them that they tried to find a way to not take care of their elderly parents and essentially blame God for it.  The truth was, however, that when they declared their belongings to be Corban, they didn’t immediately give what they had to God.  Instead they just lived off of what they had.

The other thing that Jesus reminded them of was the fact that it isn’t what goes into a person that defiles that person.  Instead it is what comes out of him.  What comes out of person is evidence of what is in him. 

In other words, we can eat bacon with dirty hands and that isn’t a sin.  But  it is the evil, selfish thoughts that proceed out of a person that lead to evil, selfish actions that are evidence of the sin that dwells within every one of us.

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