Christ is Returning. Until then…

In Mark’s gospel, Jesus’ answer to His disciples’ question about the end of the age occurs in chapter 13. Three times, Jesus gives instructions as to what we oughta be doing until He splits the skies wide open and “all heaven breaks loose.”

In vs 23, Jesus said, be on guard.” In vs 33, Jesus again says “be on guard” but adds the phrase, “keep awake.” Finally, in vs. 37, He instructs us to “stay awake.”

Three very similar English phrases translated from three different Greek words.

“Be on guard” – literally “look/watch”. It’s a very common word used for “watching” in the New Testament. In contemporary vernacular, think of the idiom, “keep an eye open….”

“Keep awake”Used only 7 times, in only 4 verses, in the New Testament, the word literally means, “to be sleepless, attentive, ready.” Paul used this Greek word in Ephesians 6:18 as he finished up describing the “armor of God.”

“Stay awake” – literally:  give strict attention to; be cautious; vigilant; active. This is the same word Jesus used in Matthew 26:38 when Jesus, in Gethsemane, is about to be under so much anxiety that He sweats blood. As such, He asks His disciples to “watch with me” (while Jesus prays.) Jesus, knowing the Jewish & Roman guards were even, at that moment, on their way (led by Judas) to arrest him, asked His disciples to be “cautious, vigilant, ready for action.”

Chris is Returning. No power on earth – or in the cosmos – can prevent this event. Three times in the Revelation’s final chapter, John records Jesus, in essence, telling us, “I’m on my way!”

Until that event….

1. Keep an eye open for it – it’s coming.
2. Don’t make the topic of Christ’s return an infrequent or occasional (or non-existent) thought. Be “sleepless” in your focus on His “glorious appearing.”
3. Be vigilant. Just as Judas and the Jewish leaders preyed on Jesus, so Satan preys on our thoughts, attempting to discourage us from the truth of Christ’s return. Be ready to respond with the “sword of the Spirit” (the Word of God.) In short, be vigilant, ready for action.

Speaking to the Thessalonian believers about this very topic, Paul wrote, “Encourage one another with these words.” Be encouraged, my friends.

Maranatha, Nick

How We Got Our Bible

It’s always amazed – and concerned – me at how little the average believer knows about the origin of the Bible.

Wanna learn?  🙂

Check out Dr. Clinton Arnold’s “How We Got the Bible: A Visual Journey.” Arnold is a solid scholar. And the book, concise and easy to read, contains wonderful photos of biblical manuscripts that date back almost 20 centuries.

After even a cursory reading, you will “see” your Bible in a whole new way.  Dr. Arnold does a tremendous job of helping us better understand why the author of Hebrews described the Word of God as alive and active.”

Here’s the link on Amazon. You’ll find used copies for as little as $6.

how we got our Bible - front

how we got our Bible - back

A Band of Brothers

Fully human, Jesus (in his 100% humanity) needed support from friends He could trust.

On the evening before Jesus was crucified, Luke records Jesus’ transparency, saying to his disciples, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover meal with you before I suffer.” Later, during the meal, Jesus looked at them and said, “You are those who have stayed with me in my trials,…” (22:15, 28)

Commenting on this passage, John MacArthur, writes, “Christ’s entire life and ministry were *filled* will temptations, hardships, sorrows, and agonies.”

Do you have friends like this? Thank God Almighty, I do.

O God, thank you today for placing in my life a “band of brothers (and sisters)” on whom I can call at a moment’s notice and know, with no semblance of doubt, they would be there to hold me up.

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick