READ: Mark 13:1-37
THINK: Have you ever noticed that whenever world events or catastrophes resemble descriptions given in the Bible of end-time events, people suddenly become interested in spiritual issues and what God says in His Word? That's a natural response from people who know they are missing something in life. But don't wait for a sign or event to point you to God's Word or inspire you to trust Him. Learn the Word now. Be prepared, be alert and be ready at all times for Jesus' return.
RESPOND: In what ways are the times we live in now like the times described in this passage? Why does Jesus give repeated warnings to "watch out," (v. 5), "be on your guard," and "be alert" (cf. vv. 5, 9, 23, 33, 35, 37)? For what things must Jesus' followers be prepared? What must you do to guard against deception in the days ahead? (See 13:5 note.) What will happen before the end comes (v. 10)? Why don't Jesus followers have to worry about what to say when persecuted and standing before others as a witness for Christ (v. 12)? How can you make sure that you "stand firm to the end"? (See 13:13 note.) In what ways is Jesus combining the descriptions of several times and events in this passage? (See 13:14 note.) In what ways will people be spiritually "asleep" in the last days? (For further commentary on these issues, see study notes throughout Matthew 24.)
PRAY: Ask God to keep you alert and on guard against spiritual deception as Jesus' return approaches. Pray for a greater understanding of His Word so you can discern truth from error. Ask Jesus to help you do your part to spread His message before He returns. Thank the Holy Spirit for giving you the words to say when testifying about Jesus.
ACT: Look through a newspaper, news magazine or web site. Notice how many items fit descriptions of last days events (e.g., wars, natural disasters, violent acts, immorality). Read the FBSE articles on False Teachers, p. 1370, and The Rapture, p. 1753 to gain insight into things for which Jesus says to be on guard and be ready.
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