Mark 12:41-13:37, Proverbs 7
There is tension in Jesus’ prediction about the end of days, stating there are obvious signs when Jesus will return (e.g. the Gospel preached in all nations, famines, wars, etc.), juxtaposed with recognition that even, in some way “not even the angels, nor the Son” know the date of the second coming (not enough time for that discussion here). The Bible elsewhere points towards events that forecast the end of days, but also tells us to be prepared to see Jesus, for we don’t know the day or the hour our King comes to bring us home. It is easy to become bewildered, caught between the extremes of over-analysis of numbers, dates, and meteorological phenomena, or treating Jesus’ words as simple metaphor and hyperbole. Caught up between those poles, we often mistakenly just say all that matters is being faithful to Jesus till He returns. You might think my last statement too extreme. My point is, calling for simple faithfulness only responds faithfully to the teachings about the unknown day and hour of Jesus’ return, yet downplays Jesus’ signs that predict the end. Jesus is telling us that even creation will continue to go through birth pangs until the redemption of the sons of God (see Romans 8:18-22). We are to pay attention to the fulfillment of these warnings, while also holding fast to hope that the Gospel will be preached in all nations. If you consider those promises were made almost 2,000 years ago, it is quite incredible that we are so close to that promise being reality. Selfishly, world-wide Gospel proclamation also will prepare Jesus’ imminent return, and what could be better news in such a broken world. Be faithful and get excited for the day is near!