Mark 13:1-8

Commentary Excerpt by Tom Boomershine

This story is the introduction to what is often called the Little Apocalypse. The important thing to recognize about this speech is that it communicates on two levels. It is first of all Jesus' prophecy about what will happen in the future. It is also a description of what is happening in Mark's day and time. This is probably the most direct description of the events of what was happening in Mark's time as we have anywhere in the gospel tradition. That time was the time of the Jewish war. Mark was probably written in the immediate aftermath of that war and the destruction of the Temple, in 70 AD.

The story begins with an allusion to that war: "Not one stone will be left here upon another." The probability is that Jesus' statement refers to something that has just happened, about which all of Mark's listeners know, the destruction of the temple in August of 70 AD. It was the greatest tragedy in the entire history of Israel.

Jesus' voice is probably a voice of grief. All Jews from then until now grieve at the loss of the Temple.It is far more appropriate for this to be told in a spirit of grief than, as is often the case, as a note of judgment.Jesus' voice in the rest of this discourse is addressed to his four friends. They are asking him privately about the signs of the coming of the Kingdom of God, and how they will know that all the things Jesus has been talking about throughout their time together will be accomplished. These are words that speak directly to the experience of Mark's listeners.

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