“ As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked him privately, 4 “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?” Mark 13:3-4
I was speaking with a Senior’s group today, and a woman said to me,
“Things are getting so bad these days. “. There continues to be violence, war and poverty in our world. Some people are saying the opposite. There are less than one billion people who go to bed hungry. That is a number that has gone down in the last few years. Maybe things are getting better ?
The Mount of Olives has a great view of Jerusalem, even today. Jesus, and his friends have arrived at this place after many years in Galilee, their home area. Jesus grew up in Nazareth in the same area, just north of Jerusalem. This was a group of men that was announcing a new way of life, and calling people to follow the teaching, miracles and hopes of Jesus, according to the Bible ( or the New Testament ). They were a group for almost three years, and now they have come to Jerusalem, one of the centres of power in the ancient world. It looks like they will confront the political and religious people of power.
So, we find them on the opposite mountain away from the busyness of Jerusalem. They had arrived a few days earlier with a parade. There were many pilgrims in the city coming for the annual Jewish Festival of Passover. The soldiers of the occupation were mingling with the crowds, making sure that the population knew who held power. Jesus and his friends, although happy with the parade, felt the tension, and were worried about what was going to happen next. They needed time away from the crowds.
The Mount of Olives gave them time to rest, and think about what was next. The disciples hoped that Jesus/God would bring about the new kingdom during this time. He had told them that he was going to die, but in their minds that was not part of the plan that they had imagined. They wanted change in the world, and they wanted it today.
After the passage that is quoted above, Jesus explains all the bad things that are going to happen in the near future. It sounds horrible, brothers going against brothers, and many other evil things that humans will do to one another. Then at the end of the conversation, Jesus says that that no one knows when it will happen. He then tells them, that they should be alert and on guard. Watch and listen to the signs
So what is the role of the disciples then, what is our role today ? What are we watching for, and how do we wait ? We wait and work for a better world. We work against violence against women. We work for respect for all people.
As you think of Jesus and his best friends sitting on that mountain, what would you have asked Jesus about what would happen in the next few days The disciples here, Peter, James, John and Andrew ( two sets of brothers ), want to know what sign is going to kickstart the changes that will bring about the Kingdom of God here on this earth.
What do you think and believe about the days that we are living in ?