Mark 13:28 “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. 29 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. 30 Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
This is a challenging text. Jesus has been talking about signs of the end-times and here says flat-out “this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Here’s what he describes in preceding verses:
24 “But in those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, 25 and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 26 Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory. 27 Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.
I would certainly expect that the original hearers of Jesus would have expected the return of the Son of Man in their lifetimes – at least in the lifetimes of some of the younger persons present. That has not happened. What do we do with this?
One thing is to reinterpret what Jesus means by “this generation will not pass away”. Perhaps Jesus is thinking of “this generation” as the generation of humanity before his return. I suppose that’s possible. I don’t buy it, but that’s possible. Jesus then goes on the say that no one knows the day or time when the Son of Man will return.
As we keep reading we shall see that Jesus’ point is to encourage all believers to be ready for his return. Be ready to confess Jesus as Lord and Savior. Be ready to give an account of the life we’ve been given and how we spent that life. Be ready to sit in the judgment seat. Be ready to be received into eternity with God by the grace of Jesus Christ alone.
Heavenly Father, make us ready today, for the truth is tomorrow is guaranteed to no one. Let us enter the next life proclaiming the glories of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.