Watch! Be on Guard! Be Alert!

John Koedyker

Read: Mark 13:24-37

But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. (vv. 32-33)

All the commentators agree that this is one of the most difficult chapters in the Bible to understand. Certainly, Jesus is talking about the future. But the issue seems to be that he is talking about more than one event in the future, and they all seem to be jumbled up in this chapter.

One of the future events Jesus talks about appears to be the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, which occurred in AD 70 (vv. 1-2, 14-20). He also talks about the persecution to come for those who believe in him (vv. 9-13) and the challenge and threat of false teachers and heretics who will appear (vv. 3-6, 21-23). Finally, Jesus talks about the ultimate conclusion of all things—the end of the world and his second coming (vv. 7-8, 24-27).

So, what are we to make of Jesus’ words here? The bottom line is that no matter what happens in the future, God is in charge. The Heidelberg Catechism says in Lord’s Day 10 that “all things . . . come to us not by chance but by his fatherly hand.” Or, as I have recently heard it said, “I may not know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future.” —John Koedyker

As you pray, rest in the assurance that the future is in God’s good hands.