Reading: Mark 13
“Be Faithful, Endure, and Keep Awake” by Paul Riddle
I have heard integrity defined as “doing the right thing when no one is looking.” That phrase comes to mind as I consider Jesus’ words to his disciples in Mark 13.
Tensions were high in Jerusalem. The conflict between Jesus and the Jewish authorities was accelerating toward its climax. Jesus was doing his best to prepare his disciples for his impending betrayal, death, and resurrection, and to prepare them for the persecution they themselves would face because of their association with him.
Their training was just about complete, and their commitment to Jesus would soon be tested in the crucible of extreme adversity. The foundations of all they had known would be shaken. How would they respond?
Jesus left the disciples with three charges: 1) Keep the faith. Be the people I have formed you to be. Live the way I have taught you to live. Be people of mercy and compassion; stand with those who have no one to stand with them. 2) Endure. Whatever hardships may come, for however long they may last. Remember I have gone before you. Follow my lead. 3) Be alert. Don’t get caught napping. Be ready for What Comes Next.
These three charges sustained the first disciples through the trials that soon confronted them; they sustained the first readers and hearers of Mark’s gospel, facing persecution later in the first century, and they have sustained followers of Jesus through good times and bad for over two millennia, down to our own time.
And now it’s our turn. How will we respond? It is up to us.