The future may be hard to comprehend, but Jesus' commands for you in this chapter are pretty straightforward.
Read / Listen to the chapter:
Read the chapter in an outlined format:
Mark 13 (ESV)
1 And as he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!”
2 And Jesus said to him,
“Do you see these great buildings?
There will not be left here
one stone upon another
that will not be thrown down.”
3 And as he sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately,
4 “Tell us,
when will these things be,
and what will be the sign when all these things are about to be accomplished?”
5 And Jesus began to say to them,
“See that no one leads you astray.
6 Many will come
in my name,
saying, ‘I am he!’
and they will lead many astray.
7 And when you hear
of wars and rumors of wars,
do not be alarmed.
This must take place,
but the end is not yet.
nation will rise against nation,
and kingdom against kingdom.
There will be earthquakes in various places;
there will be famines.
These are but the beginning of the birth pains.
9 “But be on your guard.
they will deliver you over to councils,
and you will be beaten in synagogues,
and you will stand before governors and kings
for my sake,
to bear witness before them.
10 And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations.
11 And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over,
do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say,
but say whatever is given you in that hour,
for it is not you who speak,
but the Holy Spirit.
brother will deliver brother over to death,
and the father his child,
and children will
rise against parents
and have them put to death.
13 And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake.
But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
when you see
the abomination of desolation
standing where he ought not to be (let the reader understand),
let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
15 Let the one who is on the housetop
not go down,
nor enter his house, to take anything out,
16 and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak.
17 And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days!
18 Pray that it may not happen in winter.
19 For in those days
there will be such tribulation
as has not been
from the beginning of the creation that God created until now,
and never will be.
20 And if the Lord had not cut short the days,
no human being would be saved.
But for the sake of the elect,
whom he chose,
he shortened the days.
21 And then if anyone says to you,
here is the Christ!’
or ‘Look, there he is!’
do not believe it.
and false prophets
will arise and perform signs and wonders,
to lead astray, if possible, the elect.
23 But be on guard;
I have told you all things beforehand.
24 “But in those days,
after that tribulation,
sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light,
25 and the stars will be falling from heaven,
and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
26 And then they will see
the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27
he will send out the angels
and gather his elect
from the four winds,
from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.
28 “From the fig tree learn its lesson:
as soon as
its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves,
you know that summer is near.
29 So also, when you see these things taking place,
you know that he is near,
at the very gates.
30 Truly, I say to you, this generation
will not pass away
until all these things take place.
31 Heaven and earth will pass away,
but my words will not pass away.
32 “But concerning that day or that hour,
no one knows,
not even the angels in heaven,
nor the Son,
but only the Father.
33 Be on guard, keep awake.
For you do not know when the time will come.
34 It is like a man going on a journey,
when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge,
each with his work,
and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake.
35 Therefore stay awake—
for you do not know when the master of the house will come,
in the evening,
or at midnight,
or when the rooster crows,
or in the morning—
36 lest he come suddenly and find you asleep.
37 And what I say to you I say to all:
Watch / Listen to the DIG DEEPER video:
Mark 13 Summary
THE FIRST PART IS THE EASIEST: This passage is called the Olivet Discourse, because as v3 points out, Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives discoursing with His disciples.
BUT IT GETS HARDER FROM THERE: This is one of the most difficult chapters in the Bible to interpret, and good Christians are going to come to differing conclusions about it. There are some aspects of it that seem to have been fulfilled when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in AD 70 (which was an absolutely awful and brutal siege and defeat), and other aspects that will not be fulfilled until Christ returns.
It may seem like these mysterious passages aren't very relevant for our daily lives, so we're going to focus in on the imperatives - the commands Jesus gives us to follow as each day the end comes closer.
Notice also how poetically symmetrical Jesus' teaching is here. See if you can see how the various colors below fit together topically. Also notice the two imperatives that are listed three times each.
v5 - See that no one leads you astray.
v7 - do not be alarmed.
v9 - But be on your guard.
v11 - do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say
v18 - Pray that it may not happen in winter
v21 - And then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘Look, there he is!' do not believe it.
v23 - But be on guard
v28 - From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates.
v33 - Be on guard, keep awake.
v35 - Therefore stay awake—
v37 - Stay awake.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Only our Father knows when the end will come (v32)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you will be able to do the things Jesus has commanded here, especially that you be on guard and stay awake.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: