Series: BIOS of a Savior
Bible Passage: Mark 13:1-37
Other Pertinent Scripture: Parallel passages: for Mark 13:1-37 see Matthew 24:1-51; Luke 21:5-36
Daniel 7:13-14; Acts 1:11; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; 2 Timothy 3:1-5; Titus 2:11-13; Hebrews 9:28; James 5:8; 2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 1:7; 21:1-7
The gospel of Mark is a documentary account of the life of Christ. Like other ancient biographies, which were called a BIOS or “life,” Mark’s account speaks to us about the actions and events of a man’s life. But this is no mere man Mark is presenting. This is the holy man who is wholly God, the one who has unique authority to call us to follow him.
As a church, everything about Stonehouse centers on this BIOS - his life, his teaching, his authority, his suffering and his victory.
a note on this week’s text:
One New Testament theologian said this regarding Mark chapter 13: “The fact is, we have yet to find a scholar who can perfectly unravel the knotty problems of the Olivet Discourse (Mark 13 is included in this “discourse”). Study of it requires a proper humility and a willingness to admit that we do not know everything.” (Kent Hughes)
Having this reality in mind is very important when we study a text like this that includes Jesus’ words about the “end times.” The study of this subject matter is called eschatology, and while it might be easier to just avoid difficult chapters of the Bible we truly believe that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16) so we seek to honor God and submit to his word by teaching through even the harder to understand sections.
Of course, this leads us to admitting we we don’t know everything and we may even have to humbly acknowledge that we won’t get to the bottom of something in a matter of a week, or even a lifetime for that matter.
That is why we will focus on what is absolutely certain, on what is sure and clear, and on that which there is complete agreement on across the wide spectrum of Bible believing followers of Christ. We focus on the truth that Jesus will return; he is coming back! This is a glorious truth and one that can lead to tremendous joy and deep longing rather than fear and confusion. Everything that Jesus says is true, his words have proven trustworthy. When he said that he will come again in fullness of glory to judge the world and establish his kingdom once and for all we can trust him and look forward to, even long for, his return.
There is much that could be said about the return of Jesus, these articles help focus attention on the clear and foundational matters when it comes to Christ’s Second Coming:
“4 Ways Jesus’ Second Coming Changes Us Now” by J.D. Greear
“How Important Should the Study of Jesus’ Second Coming Be to Us?” by John Piper
Suggested discovery/discussion questions:
1. Eschatology is the study of the “end times” and there are a wide variety of conclusions and stances about eschatological matters in the church. Some of us have experienced some really strange stuff when it comes to the church’s teaching about the return of Jesus and the end times. While it may be easy to become cynical and dismissive in regards to the Bible’s teaching about this it is important to be humble and honest about how we’ve encountered things in the past. Have you had experiences about this teaching (eschatology) that embarrass you when you think of them? Do things you have heard and seen in the past make you timid and afraid to hear these words from Jesus in Mark 13? With whatever background you have in this regard, do you see this teaching from Jesus (and other authors of scripture) as important and necessary? Why is it that these things have gotten out of line in the church and what can we do, in our time and our church, to amend that?
2. Jesus makes a bold claim about the amazing and beautiful temple that was built during his time and ministry. What claim/prophecy does Jesus make? Why is the prophecy such a big deal? Does what Jesus prophesy come true? What does this prophecy and its fulfillment tell us about Jesus? about what he says next?
3. When the disciples ask Jesus about the timeline and the accompanying signs of the destruction of the temple Jesus provides a long and complex answer. Much of what Jesus says is hard to decipher but parts of his answer are actually quite clear and address the disciples’ second question. What are some of the predictions/prophecies that Jesus makes that come true for the disciples? Why did Jesus tell them these things? Armed with this information, what do you think the disciples were like when they faced the fulfillment of these prophecies? Do we have any evidence of that?
4. Jesus makes it crystal clear in Mark 13:26 that he will return with “great power and glory” and then in v. 32 he makes it just as clear that “no one knows” the day or the hour of his return. So Jesus will most certainly return and it could be anytime and yet we also know that this has been the thought of Jesus followers for more than 2000 years. How do we live in light of Christ’s return? What does it look like to live in light of the certain return of Jesus that we cannot know the timing of? In what ways does the certainty of Jesus’ return affect our lives? In what ways does the prospect of a long life for us before his return affect our lives? What doubts/fears/ questions does this bring to the surface for you?
5. Read Revelation 21:1-7. What do these verses evoke in your heart? Is Christ’s return/second coming just a concept to you or is it a true and real pending event that you eagerly await? Why do think it is the way that it is for you? What will Jesus do when he returns? Do you long to see Jesus?
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