14 “When you see the abomination of desolation standing where it should not be” (let the reader understand), “then those in Judea must flee to the mountains. 15 A man on the housetop must not come down or go in to get anything out of his house, 16 and a man in the field must not go back to get his coat. 17 Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days! 18 “Pray it won’t happen in winter. 19 For those will be days of tribulation, the kind that hasn’t been from the beginning of creation until now and never will be again. 20 If the Lord had not cut those days short, no one would be saved. But he cut those days short for the sake of the elect, whom he chose. 21 “Then if anyone tells you, ‘See, here is the Messiah! See, there! ’ do not believe it. 22 For false messiahs and false prophets will arise and will perform signs and wonders to lead astray, if possible, the elect. 23 And you must watch! I have told you everything in advance. — Mark 13:14-23
The Rest of the Story
by Mike Harland
Do you remember the legendary radio personality Paul Harvey? He was famous for telling some amazing anecdote acquired from his travels across America that had some amazing point with an amazing punch-line. He was so well known for this that when you caught his distinctive voice passing through the dial, you would automatically stop just to hear those iconic words after his well-delivered, powerful punchline —“And that, my friends, is the rest of the story.” Then he would close the segment with, “Good day!”
In our passage today, Jesus does the same thing—only better. And it is much more than a story Jesus tells. He is recalling the events of a previous time and outlining the events of a coming day in which His followers will suffer many persecutions and hardships. The news is ominous at best, horrifying at worst.
The Abomination of Desolation in verse 14 is both something from their history (Daniel 9) and something in their future. The presence of God had been reviled and ridiculed in Daniel’s day, and it was going to happen again. The phrase “let the reader understand” is a reference to me and you reading this on March 23, 2019! And, boy, do we understand. We’re watching Jesus and His glory be profaned and treated with ultimate disrespect by a culture growing increasingly hostile to the holy and indignant with the righteous.
That’s why the closing phrase of Jesus in this passage stuns us and gives us “the rest of the story.” He asserts, “I have told you everything in advance.” There’s no other shoe to drop, no other unexpected outcome. Read the rest of the chapter. Jesus is coming back, and He will set everything right.
And that, my friends, is the rest of the story.
So, child of God, rejoice that we serve a Savior who knows it all and still tells us to not lose heart. He has never broken a promise, and He won’t break this one. When we see the walls crumbling around us, we can rest in the assurance that He has it all in His hands. That’s why we can close this story the same way Paul Harvey closed every one of his...
- In verses 14-16, Jesus gives very practical directions for how they should withstand this hardship in the context of the day in which He was speaking. What would be the equivalent for us today?
- What voices today are asserting that the Messiah is this person or that person? What “signs and wonders” do we see from false prophets today?
- How do the influences of today seek to “lead astray” the children of God?
- Mediate on Jesus’ statement, “I have told you everything in advance.” What comfort can we take in that promise?
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.