Andrew Greaves from Hexham Quakers comments on Mark 13 v 24 - 37:

Jesus shares a quiet ‘calm before the storm’ moment with a small group of his closest disciples on the Mount of Olives. Together they contemplate the grandeur of the Jerusalem skyline, dominated by Solomon’s mighty temple, which Jesus tells his followers, is destined to be razed to the ground within their lifetime. He speaks of wars, earthquakes, famines to come: natural disasters and social disorder and breakdown on an unprecedented global scale. The mill-race of history is in full spate now, and Jesus’ own lonely journey of suffering is soon to begin with his betrayal and arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, leading to torture, humiliation and public execution as an enemy of the state, on a rubbish dump beyond the city walls.

No wonder then that the vision of the future which Jesus paints for his disciples, their families, and the entire world is one full of tribulation, anguish and suffering. Jesus declares that the impending cataclysm will represent the final death-throes of the established order of life on Earth, and the birth-pangs of an entirely new era.

Countless generations since Jesus’ own have interpreted Mark’s graphic description of the violent and chaotic ‘end-time’ to be referring to their own moment in human history. The deadly global pandemic we are currently living through is regarded by some as another sure sign that human history is fast approaching its divinely-appointed end.

‘But of that day or that hour no-one knows, not even the angels in heaven…’ Jesus admits to his followers that not even he knows precisely when the decisive fault-line in humanity’s destiny that he’s predicting will be reached. Until it arrives, Jesus urges his followers, in dangerous times such as these, stay strong, hold fast to your inner convictions, live truthfully, be ready to face whatever’s coming with your faith as your compass.