Judgment and Vindication

Steven Bouma-Prediger

READ : Mark 13:1-37

Keep awake. (v. 37)

Samuel Smith stubbornly insisted he was innocent and would one day be released from
prison. And sure enough, when the new evidence came back from the lab, he was set free.
Over twenty years ago Jim Hansen predicted that global warming was becoming a serious
problem, and in the last two decades the scientific evidence has proven him right. In each case, judgment and vindication.

There is much going on in Mark chapter 13. The main point is that Jesus is predicting
the destruction of the temple and the fall of Jerusalem. This is not primarily a
prediction of the end of the world. It is, rather, highly charged apocalyptic language,
with images drawn from the Hebrew prophets, describing God’s coming judgment on

If you continue to walk the path of violence and injustice, Jesus says, then you will suffer the consequences. And sure enough, in AD 69 Roman legions torched the temple,
killed thousands of Jews, and destroyed Jerusalem. Jesus’ predictions came true. Judgment and vindication. Jesus must have been who he said he was.

Sprinkled through this chapter is a call to be alert, to stay awake – a call no less
important for us today – lest we, too, follow the well-worn path of violence and
injustice to its inevitable and inglorious end.


O God, keep us awake to the signs of the times, that we may be your faithful