“Be on guard! Be alert!”Mark 13:33a
I came across Mark 13 in my daily Bible reading. Verse 1 got my attention right away, “Look, Teacher!” A disciple was pointing out something wonderful to Jesus. It sounded like a child saying to his parent, “Look” as he pointed something out. I kind of laughed and then thought how comfortable it was for this disciple to share with Jesus. Do I feel comfortable speaking with Jesus? Jesus took the moment to teach them. Then I came to Mark 13:9, and He said, “You must be on your guard.” “So be on your guard” (Mark 13:23). “Be on guard! Be alert!” (Mark 13:33). Jesus took the time to put emphasis on these words.
It made me think of my childhood when I was no more than a first-grader in Key West, Florida. We lived upstairs across from the Navy base, and the ocean was in sight. My dad was a Naval officer. My neighbors had the downstairs. They also had a cookie jar. One time when they were gone, I got into that cookie jar and put cookies in my pocket. I went around the block and began to eat those cookies.
Why would these verses remind me of that time?
I was just a kid, but even at that age I really knew better. The cookies were great, but I tried to hide my guilt and cover my sin. Jesus said, “be on your guard.” I was also reminded of Gideon and 300 men doing battle against the Midianites. “Now the number of those who lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, was 300 men; but all the rest of the people kneeled to drink water. And the Lord said to Gideon, I will deliver you with the 300 men who lapped” (Judges 7:6-7). The 300 men were the ones who were on their guard. They would be the ones going into battle for the Lord.
I must also make myself useful for the Lord. His Word teaches us. Mark 13:37 is the last verse of Mark 13. Jesus says, “What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’” We are really given the charge to be on our guard. In Mark 14:38 in a place called Gethsemane, Jesus tells His disciples, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.” It is so easy to put the cookies in our pocket and walk away. God helps us to do what is right and let His Word teach us. In Hosea 14:9, we have the last chapter and verse in Hosea: “Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning let him know them. For the ways of the Lord are right, And the righteous will walk in them, but transgressors will stumble in them.” Each one of us must ask ourselves if we are walking in His Word.