“On Your Mark”
Will You Be There? (Chapter 13 Verses 1-37)
The way in which the Temple was desecrated prior to the flight beggars belief. The distress here declared by Jesus will not meet with his intervention, it is mentioned simply to warn and to prepare his disciples. In order that they, or other disciples in their care, will not fall away, or be deceived by false claims or even signs and wonders (Deuteronomy 13.6-7; 11; 14). The Apostles themselves are not to be ready to answer it with signs and wonders, they must learn from their Master, who would never relieve people of their responsibility of faith commitment by performing miracles (Mark 8.11; 15.32). The exercise of supernatural sign gifts by the Apostles are not the answer to everything, yet neither are they negated, invalidated here. The disciples are to be on their guard, alert, ready to go, but always having in mind the final victory lies with the Son of God (vv24-31).
Following that distress, but not necessarily five minutes later, will the final, eschatological programme be ushered in, the final glory of divine redemption when the Son of Man will be revealed in his glory (v26), accompanied with all sorts of celestial phenomena (vv24-25), which are appropriate (Joel 2.10; 3.15; Isaiah 13.10; 34.4; Ezekiel 32;7-8; Amos 8.9). In that day all will know who and what Jesus is, and all will know exactly who the true people of God are, the elect. The destruction of the Temple, God’s act of judgment, meant of course a scattering of God’s people, as did persecution later (James 1.1-2; 1Peter 1.1-2). Think too of the many things that scatter God’s people today, that fragment the Church. Well the great Christian hope, the eschatological hope, when Jesus comes again, it will be to gather all his people together as one body, one unit, from all the ends of the earth. Then we shall enjoy the fullness of the Messianic blessing. Then all the suffering will be over, then all the pain and tears will be gone (Revelation 7.17), then the persecutors, the liars, the unbelievers will be gone (Revelation 21.8). We will be part of an innumerable people, singing praises to the glory of the Lamb (Revelation 7.9-10).
O Christ he is the fountain,
The deep, sweet well of love;
The streams on earth I’ve tasted,
More deep I’ll drink above;
There, to an ocean fullness,
His mercy doth expand;
And glory, glory dwelleth, in Immanuel’s land.
When the roll is called up yonder, will YOU be there (Romans 10.13)?
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1996)