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First Sunday in Advent
Series B

Option #1: "The Lord's Command to Remain Alert"
Mark 13:33-37
Rev. Wayne Dobratz, M.Div.

1) Because you don’t know when the end of the world will come--Mk 14:37-38; 1 Thess 5:4-11

2) Because you want to be awake when He comes--Matt 26:40-41, Lk 21:34-36; Rom 13:11-14

3) Because He has given you a job to do and expects a harvest--Matt 25:13ff; Matt 24:45-51

Adam Clarke writes on Mark 13:34:

Left his house--"oikian," family. Our blessed Lord and Master, when he ascended to heaven, commanded his servants to be faithful and watchful. This fidelity to which he exhorts his servants consists in doing every thing well which is to be done, in the heart or in the family, according to the full extent of the duty.

The watchfulness consists in suffering no stranger nor enemy to enter in by the senses, which are the gates of the soul; in permitting nothing which belongs to the Master to go out without his consent; and in carefully observing all commerce and correspondence which the heart may have abroad in the world, to the prejudice of the Master’s service

Marvin R. Vincent explains a key word in Word Pictures of the New Testament:

Mark 13:35, "watch!" (greegoreite): a different word from that in v33. See also v34. The picture in this word is that of a sleeping man rousing himself. While the other word conveys the idea of simple wakefulness, this adds the idea of alertness. Compare Mark 14:38; Luke 12:37; 1 Peter 5:8. The apostles are thus compared with the doorkeepers, v34; and the night season is in keeping with the figure. In the temple, during the night, the captain of the temple made his rounds, and the guards had to rise at his approach and salute him in a particular manner. Any guard found asleep on duty was beaten, or his garments were set on fire. Compare Revelation 16:15: "Blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments."

The preparations for the morning service required all to be early astir. The superintending priest might knock at the door at any moment. The rabbis use almost the very words in which Scripture describes the unexpected coming of the Master. "Sometimes he came at the cockcrowing, sometimes a little earlier, sometimes a little later. He came and knocked and they opened to him" (Edersheim, The Temple).

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Option #2: "Janitors for Jesus!"
Mark 13:33-37 
Rev. Kelly C. Bedard, M.Div.

A. Watching & Praying

    1. Spiritual sleepyheads, inattentive and unready for The Time (Christ's return), doing as we please, veiled

    2. 'Tis the season to be praying, opportunistic, right

B. Praying & Watching

    1. Crowned heads, attended to and prepared for The Time, sins unveiled and appeased by The Pleased

    2. 'Tis the season to be joyly: forgiven and free, therefore forgiving and freeing, freely serving The Household

 

Notes

1. agrupneo {ag-roop-neh'-o}, v33: watch; to be sleepless, keep awake, watch; to be circumspect, attentive, ready.

2. kairos {kahee-ros'}, v33: season, opportunity, due time, due measure; a measure of time, a larger or smaller portion of time, hence: a fixed and definite time, the time when things are brought to crisis, the decisive epoch waited for; opportune or seasonable time; the right time; a limited period of time; to what time brings, the state of the times, the things and events of time.

3. exousia {ex-oo-see'-ah}, v34: power, authority, right, liberty, jurisdiction, strength; power of choice, liberty of doing as one pleases; leave or permission; physical and mental power; the ability or strength with which one is endued, which s/he either possesses or exercises; the power of authority (influence) and of right (privilege); the power of rule or government (the power of /her him whose will and commands must be submitted to by others and obeyed; universally, authority over humankind;   specifically, the power of judicial decisions; of authority to manage domestic affairs; metonymically, a thing subject to authority or rule; jurisdiction; one who possesses authority; a ruler, a human magistrate; the leading and more powerful among created beings superior to humans, spiritual potentates; a sign of the husband's authority over his wife; the veil with which propriety required a women to cover herself; the sign of regal authority, a crown.

4. thuroros {thoo-ro-ros'}, v34: a watcher; porter, that keeps the door; a doorkeeper, porter; a male or female janitor.

5. alektorophonia {al-ek-tor-of-o-nee'-ah}, v35: cockcrowing; the crowing of a cock or rooster, cock-crowing; used of the third watch of the night.

6. katheudo {kath-yoo'-do}, v36: to sleep; to fall asleep, drop off to sleep; to sleep normally; euphemistically, to be dead; metaphorically, to yield to sloth and sin; to be indifferent to one's salvation.

(All word studies are from Strong's)

7. Watchful living has less to do with speculation about the end of the world...and more to do with carrying out our trust, as Mark illustrates it, in a way that finally makes the date of the end a matter of irrelevance. Readiness has as much to do with being ready for life as it has to do with its end. (William Loader)

8. True human wisdom, as God’s tiny son demonstrates to us, is not in how much we know; it is in knowing on whom to depend. (Ronald Goetz)

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