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Mark 13:7-10 Beginning of Birth Pains

Posted by adventbiblestudy on February 28, 2013


Mark 13:7-10 NLTse And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. (8) Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in many parts of the world, as well as famines. But this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come. (9) “When these things begin to happen, watch out! You will be handed over to the local councils and beaten in the synagogues. You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me. (10) For the Good News must first be preached to all nations.

 

After answering questions and teaching parables all day, Jesus and His disciples left the temple courtyard. As they walked through the gate, one of his disciples began pointing out the grand stones making up the structure of the temple. Jesus turned around, thinking about the day God’s glory rested on the temple Solomon built. God’s Heavenly Sanctuary and the Tabernacle model build by Moses pointed to Christ, His life, service, and sacrifice. This stone temple – Jesus knew it was destined for ruin. Not only was it misused and abused as a symbol, it was misunderstood and designed to fail based on a number of details. Every three layers of specially prepared stones will be topped by a layer of timber. All expenses will be paid by the royal treasury. (Ezra 6:4 NLTse).

 

Jesus had no reason to explain all the details surrounding the fall of the stone temple. They are all in scripture and will be revealed at the right time. Knowing a fire would burn away timbers, the weight of the stones would bring the walls crashing down was more than He cared to share. Knowing the stones would fall was all the disciples needed to know.

 

Later, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives across the valley from the Temple. Peter, James, John, and Andrew came to him privately and asked him, “Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will show us that these things are about to be fulfilled?” Jesus replied, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many. (Mark 13:3-6 NLTse).

 

Jesus wanted them to know all the answers can be found in scripture. There was no reason to go to anyone for answers. It was a warning they would understand and teach in the future. Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2 KJV).

 

For years Jesus taught His disciples how to understand all parables. He taught them how to look at scripture and how to compare them. Jesus also used personal experiences to teach many of those lessons. Jesus knew this teaching method would serve its purpose. He knew the disciples would recall every event and see how each one built upon another to lead to a greater understanding. Once they saw this in their lives, it will be easy to see the same method used by God’s prophets and authors. Jesus also repeated lessons to show His patients as well as draw attention to important points. A feature all Bible authors used, often repeating key words to draw the attention of the reader. All of these made communication with the Spirit much easier.

 

After learning all of these lessons, Jesus wondered why His disciples wanted to know what the signs will be before the stones of the temple will fall. Jesus knew they could not see past the physical temple to the spiritual fulfillment. It was not the proper time to explain the spiritual fulfillment of the prophecy Jesus shared with them.

 

Jesus was also upset the disciples showed so much interest in the fall of a stone temple while they displayed little interest in the sacrifice He was about to provide for salvation of the world. Jesus taught them about relationships for months, but saw little success. Jesus had no place to turn but to His Father and His Spirit for comfort. Jesus wondered how the disciples could ask Him about the future without first establishing the close, personal relationship and support He was looking for.

 

Jesus looked at them knowing they expected an answer. He knew they still thought special gifts, honor, respect, and success relied on knowing prophecies not yet fulfilled. They still looked at religious leaders as successful figures of society based on their interest and reliance on their interpretation of scripture. At least the disciples were beginning to see faults in popular interpretations. Their minds were beginning to open, but not their eyes. The disciples forgot to review scripture Jesus quoted earlier in the day. They were busy looking for an easier way, compromising between what they saw with their eyes and been taught since childhood. Jesus wondered how the disciples witnessed a number of prophecies fulfilled before their eyes, but had no idea they were now a determinant part of history.

 

Jesus knew a few vague details would satisfy their appetite, so He told them, “you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately.” Jesus could tell this captured their attention based on the way they leaned forward and drew closer. Jesus continued. “Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom againstkingdom. There will be earthquakes in many parts of the world, as well as famines. But this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.” Jesus hesitated for a long time to see if any of them would ask, what wars? When will the end come? Which nations and kingdoms? Where should we be when this begins? Where will we be safe? What should we do to prepare? No questions came, so Jesus added. “”When these things begin to happen, watch out! You will be handed over to the local councils and beaten in the synagogues. You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me.”

 

Jesus’ warning was met with quite a change in the expressions on many of the faces around Him. Jesus could tell some tried to hide their reactions. Others physically withdrew when they heard about trials they were sure to face. Still no one asked when or to whom they would be handed over. Jesus was not surprised no one asked what they were to tell world leaders about Him. Maybe they already knew. Maybe they thought it would come to them when they faced their trials. Maybe it wasn’t a real concern at the moment. Maybe they didn’t believe what the future held for them. Jesus smiled as He thought of how these vague details held their attention, stuck fear in their hearts, but didn’t prompt interest in additional details. Finally Jesus told them the message they were about to preach. “For the Good News must first be preached to all nations.” How can the Good News be the beginning of birth pains?

 

Jesus knew they deserved to know at least one detail about the temple and their personal futures. It made Him sad when they displayed more interest in a stone temple and their own lives than the one they claimed to love. It baffled Jesus, how people can claim to love another but show little interest in their lives, trials, goals, and especially in Jesus’ case, His family in Heaven.

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