Reading for Wednesday, Oct 24: Mark 13
The coming of the Kingdom is of primary significance in Jesus’ ministry and teaching. Understandably, those around Him are constantly pressing Him for an answer as to its coming. “But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake.” (v32-33). N.T. Wright has said: “The crucial question is not so much that of the kingdom’s timing as of its content.” Jesus offers us surprisingly little about the timing of the Kingdom’s culmination in history. But He does offer plenty of explanation as to the nature and quality of this Kingdom reign.
This is why He returns again to the fig tree in vv28-31. This fig tree is more important to Mark than any other Gospel writer. In it, Mark sees a parable of Israel: incapable of understanding and interpreting the times as they unfold before them. Israel’s failure is one of perception: they have eyes, yet they do not see; ears, but they do not hear. Though they have been given every indication of the coming of this Messianic “season”, they have failed to accept it when the moment arrives. Undeterred, Jesus offers a grim judgment against this, reminding us all that “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away,” (v31).