Today’s word received in my spirit from the One Year Bible Reading of 10th week 2nd day is: LOOK. The word means different things to Jesus. He teaches us how not to look and how to look. In the passage from Mark 13, one typical disciple looks at the mega church and marvels at its grandeur: the magnificent building, the impressive building materials, multi-million dollars high-tech audio-visual-theatre-auditorium all purpose entertainment system, equipments, hardwares, multi-purpose functional and conventional halls, cafes, restaurants, shops, consumer-commercial outlets, gyms, game arcades, and above all the breath-taking mega size. He even asks Jesus to look and admire them. The incongruity of the way the disciples look at and interpret Jesus’ mission on earth continues. They look at the wrong things: political and material positions and possessions. Power in the wrong realm and for the wrong agenda. The summary: The disciples look at the world that people bring into churches/the Temple of God. Jesus has warned churches about this worldliness in His stern letters to the seven churches in the last book of the Bible: the Revelation (chapters 1-3).
What does Jesus look at and want His followers to look at? Here is the contrast between what the disciples look at and what Jesus looks at: (My notes are in bold italics.)
Disciples: look at the world and continue to be attracted by the things of the world.
As Jesus was leaving the Temple that day, one of his disciples said, “Teacher, look at these magnificent buildings! Look at the impressive stones in the walls.”
Jesus looks at the eternal destruction of things and souls.
2 Jesus replied, “Yes, look at these great buildings. But they will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!”
Disciples: look at physical signs to counter their unbelief in the spiritual.
3 Later, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives across the valley from the Temple. Peter, James, John, and Andrew came to him privately and asked him, 4 “Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will show us that these things are about to be fulfilled?”
Jesus looks at the deceptions of the physical. He warns that they will certainly see plenty of physical signs but it does not help them one bit and will add to their further anxiety and fear, just like the people of the world.
5 Jesus replied, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, 6 for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’[b] They will deceive many. 7 And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. 8 Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in many parts of the world, as well as famines. But this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.
Jesus advises His followers: When we see physical signs we should remember the spiritual agenda behind the signs. The only effective and pertinent help we have is from the Lord, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ Himself. Not from the physical realm.
9 “When these things begin to happen, watch out! You will be handed over to the local councils and beaten in the synagogues. You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me.[c] 10 For the Good News must first be preached to all nations.[d] 11 But when you are arrested and stand trial, don’t worry in advance about what to say. Just say what God tells you at that time, for it is not you who will be speaking, but the Holy Spirit.
Jesus’ last words on this passage: The physical signs will be depressive and heart-breaking for many. Even Christians. Endurance with the help and enablement from the Holy Spirit will see us through even the hardest time.
12 “A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed. 13 And everyone will hate you because you are my followers.[e] But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
Today’s Bible reading: Psalm 35:19-28; Numbers 6:1-7:89; Mark 12:38-13:13; Proverbs 10:27-28