Mark 13:1-9a, 32-35a
“When, teacher, when will this happen? Peter, Andrew, James and John probe Jesus in private. “What will be the sign?” When, we want to know when. But Jesus responds not with a countdown or a calendar, not even with a good gauge by which to make calculations. He doesn’t say when. And as far as the clues go, the so-called signs, we may be surprised by how un-clue-like they really are.
They are so general, so common, so ordinary, that they could be applied to almost any period of time: wars, and rumors of wars, earthquakes and starvation. How easy it is to forget that these things were in existence thousands of years before Christ ever came to earth, they existed when Jesus was alive, 1000 years after his departure, and still today over 2000 years after his departure. The fact is, no period in history, nowhere on history’s timeline has ever been without the above mentioned catastrophes, disasters, situations. And sadly, the time for them to cease doesn’t seem to be any closer.
There have been people in every generation since Christ’ resurrection claiming to know exactly when Jesus would return. No one has been right yet. Why is that? Because Christ will return on God’s timetable, not ours. “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, or the Son–only God knows.” (Mk. 13:32)
So Jesus comes along and gives us some signs, things to watch for, not because they help us predict when, but to remind us there is no better time to start doing something for God’s kingdom than right now! Jesus comes along to tell us not how to be end of time forecasters, but to remind us why we should remain faithful to God till the end of time; that we should stand on the promises of God, rather than on the predictions of man.