Verse of the Day Devotion: Mark 13:33
“Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time will come.” – Mark 13:33
Our focus verse was said by Jesus just after He had given the disciples teaching on His return. He spoke of times of tribulation and trouble, where many of His followers will be arrested and face incredible persecution. He alerts them that troubled times will come, but He has told them so they will remember and be prepared: using the fig tree as an example. “Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. Even so, you too, when you see these things happening, recognize that He is near, right at the door.” Mark 13:28-29 The idea is that when certain things happen, we are alerted that something is coming, In His example, when the branches of the fig tree becomes tender and sprouts its leaves, we know that summer is near.
He, however, cannot tell them when these days of trouble will come, for He does not know. “But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.” Mark 13:32 The only one who knows is the Father. The angels in heaven do not, and neither does He, only the Father does. But Jesus does know the signs of His return. “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then shall he send his angels and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.” Mark 13:24-27
Now, not only did He tell the disciples these things, but by virtue of the scriptures, He has told us as well. And we are seeing some of these signs in our time. I am not saying we see them all, but we do see the time of His return is no doubt drawing near. And because we see these signs, we must be on our guard. And this is what our focus is telling us. “Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time will come.” Mark 13:33. There are a couple reasons I want to point out as to why it is essential, we keep watch. First, to make sure you are not deceived. “And Jesus began to say to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. Many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He!’ and will mislead many.” Mark 13:5-6. We must stay in the Word so that we know the difference between what is true and what is not. We must not allow the enemy to deceive us in this way. And because we are studying His word, we should take it and tell as many as possible the truth of His coming. “The gospel must first be preached to all the nations.” Mark 13:10. This may very well be the last opportunity we have to evangelize to many in our culture. The world needs to hear the truth, and it is our responsibility to allow God to use us for this purpose.
And finally, we need to be on the alert so that we will be ready. We have no idea when He will come, and it is easy to become indifferent about something we have been waiting a long time for but has not yet happened. We must stay passionate about our faith, staying in His word, spending concerted time in prayer and conversation with God. We must spread His word to those who do not know Him and encourage and train those who do. We must do all we can to bring glory to God and listen to His leading. He is giving us all the information we need. We just need to see it and act accordingly.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.