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Gospel of Mark #57 ~ (14:53-65)

Started by Al Moak, October 02, 2004, 08:20:32 PM

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Al Moak

October 02, 2004, 08:20:32 PM Last Edit: November 05, 2008, 05:18:08 PM by Al Moak
Mark 14:53-65
Ready For The Great Day?

It's a great feeling to be really ready for some great event in your life before it happens. The event itself might still surprise you, perhaps coming with slightly different timing than you expected, but if you're ready, there's a  relief and there's gladness.  Unreadiness can result in terror.  Readiness, on the other hand,  results in joy.

The event of which our Lord is speaking in Mark 14:53-65 is definitely one that needs preparation ahead of time. I urge you to prepare very carefully and at once.

If a Christian were asked what is the greatest single event in human history, he would probably want to say that it is Jesus' crucifixion and death. But we need to be aware that there are two more events that are at least equal to the Crucifixion in importance. They are the resurrection of Christ and His triumphant second coming.  Those two climactic events mean that He reappears upon this earth to judge the world in righteousness and to usher in the everlasting state of things.

The day of our Lord's return is going to be a very happy day for those who know and love Him. They'll be with their Lord forever and ever! Let me just read for you a description of the City of God (the Church, the people of God from all ages) after He comes again. Rev. 22:3-5 says, "And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there: they need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever."

But here in Mark our Lord isn't talking about the eventual blessed condition of His people. Instead, what He says is something as ominous as rolling thunder. The high priest asks, "Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?" He answers, "I am. And you shall see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of the Mighty One and coming with the clouds of heaven!"

Here He's talking about a day of terror, a day of judgement - a day that all must face. Let me read a description of it from Revelation.  We're told, "And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, 'Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him Who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand? . . .'  Then I saw a great white throne and Him Who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death."

The positive aspect is that it's a day in which Evil is forever banned and righteousness forever restored! So it's a wonderful day for those who are prepared! But many, many people won't be prepared.  Every human being is going to experience the day. As the apostle John said in the very first chapter of the Revelation, "Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye shall see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen." Here in Mark, our Lord is reminding us of that day, reminding us that He absolutely is going to come again as the Judge of all. The point is plain: we need to be prepared.

Today, in commenting on the preparation that needs to be made for that day, I'm going to turn to another passage of Scripture. It's Matthew 25:1-13, the parable of the wise and foolish virgins. It teaches us about the only adequate preparation we can make in view of our Lord's warning. Let's read it now.

"For the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them. But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight a cry was heard: 'Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!' Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the wise answered, saying, 'No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.' And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open to us.' But He answered and said, 'Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.' Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming."

The first thing we need to see in our Lord's parable as it's applied it to today's Church is that the Church is a mixed body, a body containing both born-again believers and also those who have no real life in Christ. In the parable, there are ten virgins, but only five are wise, and the others are foolish. So it is also with the Church: all the members claim to have the same aim, all are baptized in the Name of Christ, and all attend the meetings of the Church. But not all really hear His voice and follow Him. The problem is that all are called Christians, but not all have the Holy Spirit (the oil in the parable) in their hearts.

The second thing we need to notice in the parable is that the second coming of our Lord is going to take people by surprise. It was at midnight, at a time when all the virgins were sleeping, that there came the cry. The cry was that"The bridegroom is here! Go out and meet Him!"

That's the way it'll be when Jesus returns: the vast majority of mankind, including some in the Church, will be unbelieving and unprepared. And they'll be sleeping. Business will be going on all over the world, just as it does now. There'll be politics, trade, farming, buying, selling, pleasure seeking.  Like sleep at night, all these things will be taking up people's attention. Rich people will be having a great time, and poor people will be complaining. Churches will still be full of divisions and arguing over fine points, and theological controversies will still be raging. Preachers will be calling people to repent, and people will still be putting off the day of decision. But, in the midst of it all Christ will suddenly appear. It'll be an an hour in which no one is expecting His coming, and the startled world will suddenly have to cease its activities and stand before its awsome King!

The third thing we need to see is that, at the end, many will suddenly discover - too late - how important it is to have a living, saving relationship to Christ. The foolish virgins said to the wise, "Give us some of your oil, because our lamps are going out!" But the wise virgins had no oil to spare, and the foolish ones went out to buy some. By the time they came back, the doors were closed, and they begged in vain to be let in.

We can come to some important conclusions about the parable. At the end, when Christ actually comes,  everyone's opinion will change. Everyone will indeed be completely convinced that Jesus is Lord and Savior. Everyone will be completely convinced that it's necessary to have a real, living, saving relationship to Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, many people aren't convinced of these things now, while there's still time. Even in the Church many have no great love to Christ. They don't care much about sin. Repentance, faith, grace, holiness - all are mere words to many in the Church today. A day is coming, though, when need for the Savior will burst upon every soul like a great flash of lightning. But the mistake of not coming to Him until that day can't then be corrected!

Something we who truly know Christ can learn from all this is to be patient with those who think we're foolish in our fanaticism. We need to pray for them, even when they persecute us. They don't realize that they'll all change their minds some day. The whole world will one day have to acknowledge that God's people made a wise choice.

Another thing we can learn from all this is that true Christians will one day receive a rich reward for all they've suffered for Christ's sake. Like the wise virgins, we will go in with our Lord to the marriage, and the door will be shut. Those who are ready, those who look for His coming, those who are redeemed by His Death, clothed in His righteousness, renewed by His Spirit - will meet their Lord with boldness and sit down with Him to the marriage supper of the Lamb, never to go out again! They'll be with Him - with Him Who loved them and gave Himself for them! The door will be shut - the door to all pain and sorrow, all sin and frustration, all doubts and fears!

Both this parable and our Lord's other ominous words in Mark's Gospel should lead us to a settled commitment to being absolutely sure we've got the real thing - the real oil of the Spirit - in our hearts. I urge you, on the basis of Christ's own words, to be sure this week that you know yourself to be a sinner condemned to eternal damnation, but also that He receives sinners who apply to Him. How is it with you?

Chris & Margit Saunders

By grace alone, through faith alone, Christ alone. :)