Holy Week: Holy Tuesday
On this day, in the afternoon, Jesus and His disciples left the city and went to the Mount of Olives. As we read in Mark 13, this is where Jesus has an intentional conversation with His disciples that is meant to explain what will happen in the days to come.
The Mount of Olives rises above Jerusalem where you can look down into the city and see the temple. As the disciples awed at the magnificence of the temple, Jesus gave a prophetic picture of the time when the temple would be destroyed and when He would return. As He paints the picture, He is teaching them what it means to follow Him, what it costs to follow Him and the hope that comes from following Him.
Jesus knows that many are coming to contradict what He’s said and try to lead His disciples astray. In preparation for that time, He warns the disciples to be on guard. He warns them that the city and temple will be destroyed and that they will be persecuted. He puts it this way, “And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved” (Mark 13:13). He wants the disciples to be crystal clear on the cost of following Him. The challenge is to stand firm by faith and not be surprised by persecutions because He is foretelling them that their faith will be challenged and opposed, but the assurance and hope in all of this is in His return when He will restore creation to Himself.
These warnings lead us to an awareness, but also an encouragement and a hope in the wait of His return. Think about it, Jesus came preaching the word and eventually He was handed over to His enemies. Mark teaches that as disciples of Christ preaching the gospel, we too can expect to be handed over to councils, punished and arrested (13:9-12), but that isn’t the end. Even in the darkest days, we must rest in the hope that the day will come when Jesus will return in glory.
It cost the disciples their lives to follow Jesus and it will cost you something too. For discipleship. For our faith. Jesus is warning His followers because He’s strengthening His disciples to be committed to Him and the mission of preaching the gospel. He’s seeking faithful disciples who won’t turn away. Here’s what we must remember, following Jesus is a price worth paying. We can’t afford not to pay it.
Think about what it would’ve been like to sit here with Jesus in His final days. As the disciples ask Him questions for preparation and clarity, His answers given might still bring wonder. What questions come to your mind? The things He’s spoken of are meant to keep us spiritually alert and prepared as we wait for Him because He is where our real hope lies. Today, how can you be a faithful disciple of Jesus?