The Text

Mark 13:3–13 (CSB)
3 While he was sitting on the Mount of Olives across from the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked him privately,

4 “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign when all these things are about to be accomplished?”

5 Jesus told them, “Watch out that no one deceives you.

6 Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and they will deceive many.

7 When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, don’t be alarmed; these things must take place, but it is not yet the end.

8 For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.

9 “But you, be on your guard! They will hand you over to local courts, and you will be flogged in the synagogues. You will stand before governors and kings because of me, as a witness to them.

10 And it is necessary that the gospel be preached to all nations.

11 So when they arrest you and hand you over, don’t worry beforehand what you will say, but say whatever is given to you at that time, for it isn’t you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.

12 “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rise up against parents and have them put to death.

13 You will be hated by everyone because of my name, but the one who endures to the end will be saved.

The Devotion

Jesus is giving us the real facts. The Son of God who is God is not and will never sugarcoat what it takes to believe and trust in Him while we are still very much in a fallen world.

There are some who will deny God. Without Christ to save them, they “will be thrown into the outer darkness where the wrath of Christ remains upon them–the weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 8:12; John 3:36)

There are some who will lying and twisting of Scriptures, will tell us that God will bless with health, wealth and prosperity if you believe and trust in them–coincide, coincidentally, with how much you give to line their pockets. These false shepherds are falling into their own destructions, not unlike the false prophets in Bible times. They are false because they promise what God never promises.

Here, the Son of God is crystal clear: Trust in Him and for that, you will be persecuted in some way. Your job, your family, your friends, your neighbors–some in your own church might turn against you.

We are not called to retaliate or take revenge. We are not called to fight and draw blood. We are called, dear brothers and sisters, to love God and love one another.

And to do so, God is asking one thing from you: your heart. Where is your heart? Does your heart belong to you or does it belong to God? Does your affections are with the King of kings or whatever you can do while you are here on earth for a very short time. Are you led by the Spirit or led by your own understanding and lusts.

Choose on this day whom you will serve.

The Discussion

1. How have we Christians called something "persecution" when there is no persecution to be had?
2. What does persecution actually look like?
3. How are we to respond?
4. Is there a right way to respond? In other words, do we have to get it perfect? Where does God's grace factor in this?

The Prayer from the Psalms

Psalm 18:37–50 (CSB)
37 I pursue my enemies and overtake them; I do not turn back until they are wiped out.

38 I crush them, and they cannot get up; they fall beneath my feet.

39 You have clothed me with strength for battle; you subdue my adversaries beneath me.

40 You have made my enemies retreat before me; I annihilate those who hate me.

41 They cry for help, but there is no one to save them— they cry to the LORD, but he does not answer them.

42 I pulverize them like dust before the wind; I trample them like mud in the streets.

43 You have freed me from the feuds among the people; you have appointed me the head of nations; a people I had not known serve me.

44 Foreigners submit to me cringing; as soon as they hear they obey me.

45 Foreigners lose heart and come trembling from their fortifications.

46 The LORD lives—blessed be my rock! The God of my salvation is exalted.

47 God—he grants me vengeance and subdues peoples under me.

48 He frees me from my enemies. You exalt me above my adversaries; you rescue me from violent men.

49 Therefore I will give thanks to you among the nations, LORD; I will sing praises about your name.

50 He gives great victories to his king; he shows loyalty to his anointed, to David and his descendants forever.

My Eternal Connection
I was once so far from you. I was once lost. I was once your sworn enemy. Instead of casting me out, you sought me out. Instead of leaving me lost, you found me.

Instead of leaving me to die, you found me and gave me life. Instead being at war with me, you call me friend.

You are my only hope. You are my life. You are my salvation. You alone hold the words of eternal life.

Now my enemies are not whom I see but whom I do not see.  And you have handled my enemies. You slew them and you conquered them—once and for all.

You are the champion. You are the conqueror.

Now I walk firmly in your freedom.

Now I am free to see you, hear you, be with you, talk with you, love you and worship you all the days of my life.

All of this was made possible from your sovereign grace by the power of Your Spirit through Your Son whom poured his life out for us.

My God, I love you. My Spirit, I love you. My Lord, I love you.

Amen.

The Media

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