Sunday School: There Will Be a Delay Before the Return of Christ

Mark 13:1-37

 Main Thought: there will be delay before Jesus returns – a delay characterized by tribulation and the persecution of his followers – yet Christians await our Lord’s second coming with anticipation and faithful vigilance. This text is not a timetable or a blueprint for the future, so much as an exhortation to faithful discipleship in the present.

Point # 1 The “birth pains” of the inter-advental period are characterized by (5-23)

  1. a)Continuous international rivalry
  2. b)Natural disasters
  3. c)Spiritual conflict/opposition
  4. d)World-wide preaching
  5. e)Spiritual leaders who are false
  6. f)The destruction of Jerusalem (which occurred in 70 AD)

Yet even so, we wait. Jesus has warned us: these are the beginnings of the birth pains.

Point # 2 The return of the king (24-27)

Point # 3 The lesson of the fig tree (28-31)

Point # 4 Expectancy and vigilance (32-37)

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The Overall Structure of Mark 13

  • Jesus warns us there will be delay before the end – a delay characterized by tribulation and persecution for his followers (5-23) - but with one particularly violent display of judgment in the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD (14-19).
  • Immediately after these days of sustained persecution which characterize the entire

 inter-advental period, Jesus will return (24-27).

  •  In verse’s 28-31, Jesus weighs and assesses the warnings in 5-23 describing the whole tribulation period, from the ascension to his Second Coming. The tribulation period will certainly come, and the generation to which Jesus is speaking will experience all its features that point to the Lord’s return.
  • In verses 32-37 the reader is exhorted to look forward to the Lord’s return with expectancy and vigilance, but only the Father knows the exact time of Jesus’ return.