Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Mar 7 2013 - Mark 13:14-37 – My words will never pass away

In the Sermon on the Mount, as recorded by Matthew, Jesus says, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished" (Matthew 5:17-18). In this, Jesus echoes the words of Isaiah, "All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the LORD blows on them. Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands for ever" (Isaiah 40:6-8). God does not change his mind. He never has to come up with a Plan B. What he has purposed and promised in his word will come to pass. You can bet your life upon it.

But in the passage we have been reading today, Jesus says the same thing concerning his own words! Jesus says, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away" (Mark 13:31). He gives the same weight and certainty to his own words as he gives to the words spoken by God. No wonder Jesus angered the Jewish leaders. They accused him of blasphemy because he, a man, made himself equal with God. They were right in their accusation – except in the suggestion that such a claim involved blasphemy on Jesus' part. Jesus is the one in whom all that was spoken beforehand finds its fulfilment. He is the word incarnate. He is the one through whom God will establish his kingdom – through whom his word and promise are becoming flesh.

C S Lewis wrote concerning Jesus, “A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on a level with a man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the devil of hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the son of God: or else a madman, or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon; or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about his being a great moral teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” (Mere Christianity). 

How do you respond to the words of Jesus?

And more than that, how do we present the claims of Jesus to others? Jesus will not allow those who hear him to sit on the fence; they must either own him as Lord or reject him. Do we present the claims of Christ with a clarity and force which provokes and demands a response – or are we perhaps afraid that we also might suffer rejection if we do? The hope of Christ’s coming should prompt us to be always active in the Master’s business; always about the work of the kingdom.

Lord Jesus, I am amazed at your teaching, and especially at all that you said about yourself; “No-one else ever spoke like this.” Give me ears to hear what you are saying and an eagerness to pass on all that you have taught me. Through the power and presence of your Spirit within me, may others come to hear your voice through my stumbling words. May they come to see who you are and to own you as Saviour, Messiah and Lord.

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Peter Misselbrook