The Promise in the Warning: Mark 13:14-23

Focus Passage: Mark 13:14-23 (GW)

14 “When you see the disgusting thing that will cause destruction standing where it should not (let the reader take note), those of you in Judea should flee to the mountains. 15 Those who are on the roof should not come down to get anything out of their houses. 16 Those who are in the field should not turn back to get their coats.

17 “How horrible it will be for the women who are pregnant or who are nursing babies in those days. 18 Pray that it will not be in winter. 19 It will be a time of misery that has not happened from the beginning of God’s creation until now, and will certainly never happen again. 20 If the Lord does not reduce that time, no one will be saved. But those days will be reduced because of those whom God has chosen.

21 “At that time don’t believe anyone who tells you, ‘Here is the Messiah!’ or ‘There he is!’ 22 False messiahs and false prophets will appear. They will work miraculous signs and do wonderful things to deceive, if possible, those whom God has chosen. 23 Be on your guard! I have told you everything before it happens.

Read Mark 13:14-23 in context and/or in other translations on BibleGateway.com!

If we ever wondered or questioned God’s love for His people, this a portion of our passage for this entry helps us see how God loves us. While this passage is an excerpt from a much larger message to Jesus’ followers about remaining faithful to Him regardless of what comes our way through history, and while the majority of our excerpt is also warning, a phrase is present that shines of God’s love and His protection: “If the Lord does not reduce that time, no one will be saved. But those days will be reduced because of those whom God has chosen.” (v. 20)

This verse shouts of God’s love for us, and that no matter what happens, He is in control.

However, before you begin to question God’s love during this time when followers of His are being killed, one big key to understanding this verse is found in the phrase, “no one will be saved”. This says that there is something bigger at play here than simply one or two individuals. In this phrase, Jesus points forward to the ripple effect that our lives and relationships can have.

This phrase speaks of God ending the persecution before it has ended those who God has chosen, which gives us hope that regardless of what we face and how we might mess up, God will not let His message – His “Good News” – die.

However, slightly under the surface of this verse is another message of hope. For those who are killed, their lives still held a purpose. Some of the greatest testimonies are of those who willingly faced death because of their faith. For those who were killed, they have the promise Jesus gave that people can only kill the body; people cannot kill their whole being. God has the power to reverse bodily death and He has promised to do so for those who have died believing in Jesus.

Jesus promises to reduce the time His people are persecuted because they are His people. The persecution helps create character and resolve, but it was not ever meant to destroy. The persecution that Jesus’ followers face is like a fire that is meant to refine and not consume.

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus "Reflective Bible Study" package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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