Today's verse is Mark 13:23: "But be on guard; I have told you all things beforehand." Jesus had just told his disciples particular situations that were going to occur approximately forty years in the future. The Romans would invade Jerusalem in 70 A.D. An "abomination of desolation," in fulfillment of a prophecy made in Daniel 9:7, will be set up in the temple (probably the Roman eagle placed on the holy of holies). Jerusalem and the temple will be razed to the ground. Men, women and children will be slaughtered, a tribulation that had not been seen since the beginning of creation. It will be absolutely horrific.
Jesus warned his listeners to be prepared. When these awful things begin to occur, Jesus said to run to the mountains and hide. Their lives may be spared if they will listen to his words now and be ready and prepared when they happen.
But Jesus also intermixed future prophecies that were meant for you and me. He said that before he returns, there would be wars and rumors of wars, famines and earthquakes. Nations will rise up against nations. They will increase in intensity, like a woman giving birth to a child, before he returns. He said there would be false Messiahs and Christs who claim to be he. They will even perform great signs and wonders. But they will be false prophets. They are not he.
After all the warnings, both for the immediate listener and us today, Jesus tells us all that to be forewarned is to be prepared. When he does return, we will have no excuse. We need to be ready. We need to be waiting for him to come back. Every day of our lives should be lived in a way that we won't be embarrassed if today was the day to return.
If we weren't forewarned about something that was going to happen, how could we be prepared? We aren't responsible when it happens. But if we are forewarned and we are still unprepared, shame on us! The warning should cause preparation.
Are you prepared to meet Jesus? Do you live each day ready, willing, excited that he may come today? If your life a life that would proudly greet him? Is your life holy, ready to meet the holy One of Israel, the King of all kings, the Lord of all Lords?
Jesus did warn us. We will have no excuse.
To be forewarned is to be prepared.