Read Mark 13:14-23
ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“And everyone will hate you because you are my followers. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” (Mark 13:13, NLT)
This is my first week back from renewal leave and, let me tell you, it seems like our country imploded while I was away. Last Wednesday, January 6, 2021, I did the unthinkable thing of turning on the news. We were relaxing at that moment and I figured it would not hurt to watch a little TV, since I hadn’t touched it up until that point and I wanted to see how the electoral vote confirmation was going. Within about 5 minutes of turning it and listening to a couple of senators speak, the news suddenly cut to live video from outside the Capitol Building in Washington D.C.
At first, the correspondant reported that a massive crowd had shown up and were protesting outside the Capitol, waving flags and shouting. That didn’t really take me by surprise, as that is what protestors do; however, the sheer number of people there did take me by surprise. What’s more, only a moment later, the correspondent began to report that the security perimeter had been breached. That was quickly followed by people scaling the walls and the stairs, assaulting police officers, breaking windows, and violently forcing their way into the Capitol Building.
I know this is going to seem cliché, but I had never seen something like that in the United States of America before, nor had I ever expected it to happen, let alone so easily. Yes, I have seen riots, but not directed on the Capitol itself. It was unbelievable, shocking, disheartening, maddening, and disgusting all that the same time. The emotions were raw and, honestly, they have been ever since. I am sure that is true for most, if not all, of us.
What got us here? That is a question that I have been trying to reflect, especially since I saw some Christian signs in the mix. “Jesus Saves”, “Jesus for President 2020” and even a wooden cross were among the images I saw. Now, to be clear, I am sure that there were many Christians there who came to pray and did not participate in the insurrection, which is fine; however, there were some Christians who were a part of the insurrection and who did not see the irony of carrying out a violent revolt in Jesus name. What a horrifyingly terrible witness to the love and salvation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In our Scripture today, we see in part that Jesus was in the midst of telling his disciples about the future destruction of the Temple and the fall of Jerusalem. He talks about a time when a desecrating sareligious object is standing where it should not be. This is so important that Mark chooses to insert his own word of warning, “Reader, pay attention!”
Following that, chaos and destruction fall upon Jerusalem and its Temple. Jesus goes to length to describe the horror that befalls the people caught up in the storm. This, of course, is a prophesy of the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 A.D. by the Romans. With that said, it was not just a prophesy about that one event, but about an event in the future, when the Messiah returns again.
This is not just a prophesy for his time or for our time, but for all times leading up to the Second Coming of Christ. In Mark 13:21-22, Jesus warns, “Then if anyone tells you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah,’ or ‘There he is,’ don’t believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God’s chosen ones’” (NLT).
Jesus’ warning gives us valuable Spiritual insight into our own time. How did we get here? Simple. We have been duped to believe that a president, a party, and/or our government can replace Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. We have listened to our current president call himself the chosen one and have believed him or, in the case of prior presidents, we have placed such faith on our own accord in human beings that fall way short of God’s glorious standard.
We have made idols of our leaders, our parties, our government and our own partisan political beliefs. We have set those idols up where they should not be: in our hearts. As such our hearts have been defiled, corrupted and desecrated. As a result, we have found desolation in hearts, our lives, our homes, our communities and, certainly, in our country.
As Christians, we MUST remember that there is only one Messiah, only one Lord and Savior, and that is Jesus Christ. No matter who tells us that they are the one who can save us, no matter what promises are made, only Jesus Christ HAS come through in saving us. The choice for us is to either draw further away from Salvation, or to draw nearer to Him who is our Salvation. Let us all be reminded that without Christ we are nothing. Let us, who are Christ’s own, not be counted among those who have been decieved.
THOUGHT OF THE DAY
Christ ALONE is Lord.
Lord, help me to recenter my life on you. You are my Lord and Savior. To you, and you alone, I cling. Amen.