Mark 13:5-8

Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.
(Mark 13:5-8 NIV)

As we opened chapter 13, we saw Jesus and His disciples walking from the Temple to the Mount of Olives.  One disciple made a comment about the magnificence of the Temple itself; Jesus replied that it would be totally destroyed.  Later, four of Jesus’ disciples come to Jesus privately and ask about these seeming end-of-the-world events.

Today, we hear the beginning of Jesus’ reply.  In these four verses, we see Jesus issuing two commands, and filling in reasons and examples around the commands:

  • Don’t be misled
    • Many will claim to be Messiah
    • Others will claim to be Jesus’ disciples but will be pursuing selfish interests
  • Don’t be frightened
    • Wars and rumors of wars will come
      • These are not the end
      • Nation will rise against nation
      • Kingdom will rise against kingdom
      • Earthquakes will erupt
      • Famines will take place
      • These things are just the false contractions before labor and delivery of Messiah coming again

When we look back to the history shortly after Jesus ascended to heaven, we see His prophecies come true:

  • Major earthquakes:
    • Crete – AD 46
    • Rome – AD 51
    • Phrygia – AD 53, 60
    • Camponia – AD 63
    • Rome – AD 65
  • Major famines:
    • Judea – AD 44
    • Greece – AD 50
    • Rome – AD 52
    • Rome – AD 65
  • Major wars and political upheaval:
    • Rome – AD 69 – known as “The Year of Four Emperors”
  • The Temple in Jerusalem:
    • Destroyed in 70 AD, and has not been rebuilt since


How do we respond to events far exceeding our control, such as natural disasters, war, political unrest and deep ideological dissension?

Do we respond in fear, either running away or hiding?

Do we respond in faith, keeping our eyes on Jesus as we face the chaos and offer help and hope to the hurting and the fearful?

May we be ministers of God’s grace and love, serving others and putting off our selfish interests to demonstrate Christ’s love and sacrifice for us to those we encounter.