“Let the reader understand.”
MARK 13:14

As they were leaving the temple area, one of the disciples gushed:

“Look, Teacher!
What massive stones!
What magnificent buildings!”
MARK 13:1

Moments later, while relaxing on the Mount of Olives with Peter, James, John, and Andrew, Jesus gave their enthusiasm for the beauty of Herod’s temple some perspective.

“Not one stone here will be left on another,
every one will be thrown down.”
MARK 13:2

They asked Him:

“Tell us, when will these things happen?
And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?”
MARK 13:4

Jesus’ answer will send shivers down the spine of anyone who takes the time to read: deception, wars, rumors of wars, nation against nation, earthquakes, famines, persecution, betrayal, panic, distress, the orderliness of the heavens disrupted, Jesus’ return, the separation of the righteous from the unrighteous . . .

Fred Sanders has the privilege – and the challenge – of unpacking this passage for us this Sunday. Be praying that we’ll take our cues from the instruction of Jesus, and leave the service fully awake with the resolve to do what it takes to be ready for His coming.

Consider the following thoughts from John Piper:

1. “He will come someday in glory.” This glory is not the mere glory of a sunset or the Grand Canyon or the Hale-Bopp Comet or the universe. This is the glory of God – as Matthew 16:27 says, “the glory of His Father.” If the creation has glory that stops our mouths with its waterfalls and ravines and snow-capped Rockies and star-sheeted night skies, then the glory of the One who conceived and created it all will put it all in the shade. The Son of Man is coming with that glory.

2. “And all the angels with Him.” All of them. Did you get that? Heaven will be left empty of its armies. All the angels will be with Him! This means that His triumph is so sure that He doesn’t have to cover His rear guard. No one will threaten heaven. All the armies of God on the front line with the Son of Man. Jesus could handle the conquest of earth alone. He is God. But the angels come to magnify Him and do His bidding. What is that bidding? Just this: “He will send out His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect from the four winds.” They are going to gather you and me to meet the Son of Man.

3. “Then, He will sit on His glorious throne.” He is on a throne because He is King. “Then the King will say . . .” Jesus is King of the Universe now. He rules all and upholds all (Matt. 28:18; Col. 1:17). But when He comes, His kingship will be plain to everyone.

4. “Before Him will be gathered all the nations.” Jesus, the Son of Man, the King of the Universe, will sit on His throne, and every people and every president and chief and prime minister and premier and king on earth will gather and say, “Jesus is Lord,” to the glory of God the Father. When the elect are gathered, and the King sits in glorious judgment, then will be fulfilled the words of the prophet, “Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising” (Isa. 60:3).

5. Then, suddenly, after this parable, I read in the next verses: “When Jesus had finished all these sayings, He said to His disciples, ‘You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.’” Same Son of Man, delivered up and crucified. Did you ever wonder what joy and hope sustained Jesus in those horrific hours of suffering?

He is risen – and He is coming! In the meantime, “Let us go forth to Him outside the camp and bear the abuse He endured” (Heb. 13:13).

Words by H. L. Turner

It may be at morn, when the day is awaking,
When sunlight through darkness and shadow is breaking
That Jesus will come in the fullness of glory,
To receive from the world “His own.”

O Lord Jesus, how long, how long
Ere we shout the glad song,
Christ returneth! Hallelujah!
Hallelujah! Amen. Hallelujah! Amen.

It may be at midday, it may be at twilight,
It may be, perchance, that the blackness of midnight
Will burst into light in the blaze of His glory,
When Jesus receives “His own.”

While its hosts cry Hosanna, from heaven descending,
With glorified saints and the angels attending,
With grace on His brow, like a halo of glory,
Will Jesus receive “His own.”

Oh, joy! oh, delight! should we go without dying,
No sickness, no sadness, no dread, and no crying,
Caught up through the clouds with our Lord into glory,
When Jesus receives “His own.”

“Christ Returneth” recorded from a camp meeting

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