Today's verses are Mark 13:17,18: "And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days!  Pray that it may not happen winter." Jesus is looking ahead to the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 66-70 A.D.  It's God's judgment against the holy city that continually rejected the prophets' warnings and eventually killed God's Son, Jesus.  The city and walls would be razed.  The temple would be continually destroyed.

Jesus is warning his listeners that when this happens, the destruction will be so swift and complete, that everyone in Jerusalem needs to flee immediately.  If you're in a field or on a housetop, don't stop to gather your possessions in your houses but leave immediately and run to the mountains 15,16). Only there will you be safe.  Indeed, history shows us many Jews did exactly this and were spared their lives.

Today's verses: if you are a woman who is pregnant and nursing a child, be forewarned!  It will be very difficult for you to flee.  Jesus said to pray beforehand that these days will not happen in winter, for that will make it practically impossible, especially for nursing women, to be able to flee the destruction being brought by the Romans.

At first glance, this warning is horrific.  At second glance, we see there is great love in a warning.  If you know something awful is going to happen, you warn others of the impending destruction, especially those you love.

There is great love in a warning.  Although we are not facing the specific destruction of Jerusalem, Jesus did tell his disciples then and now that the days will become darker and times tougher before he returns. There is a judgment awaiting this world because of our continual rejection of God and his purposes. He wanted us to be warned.

Also, these darker days will signal his soon imminent return when he will judge the world.  For those who trust him with their eternal salvation, there will be an entrance into the glory of heaven.  For those who don't, there will be eternal separation from him.

This warning is cloaked in love.  Jesus doesn't desire anyone to perish.  But his warning is there.  It is there to prepare us.  When he does return one day, we cannot feign ignorance.

Because he loves us greatly, he gave us a great warning.  Therefore, as dark days become darker, we will know what to do.

Watch, pray and be ready.

Are you?