Podcast Reflections

Reflection on Mark 13.5-13 (Mark the Evangelist; Easter Season)

Listen to a reflection for 25 April 2023, the Festival of Mark the Evangelist, on Mark 13.5-13

Mark 13.5-13

Jesus began to say to the disciples, ‘Beware that no one leads you astray. Many will come in my name and say, “I am he!” and they will lead many astray. When you hear of wars and rumours of wars, do not be alarmed; this must take place, but the end is still to come. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. This is but the beginning of the birth pangs. 

‘As for yourselves, beware; for they will hand you over to councils; and you will be beaten in synagogues; and you will stand before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them. And the good news must first be proclaimed to all nations. When they bring you to trial and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what you are to say; but say whatever is given you at that time, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.’ 


Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Beware that no one leads you astray.’

We all have beliefs. In times past we are told that everyone trusted teachers, doctors, the police … even politicians and the press! But, is that the world in which we live today? What are the beliefs we still hold dear? Why do we believe what we do believe? Or … have we all become untrusting and sceptical? And … are ‘belief’ and ‘trust’ as interchangeable as our rather loose use of the English language might suggest?

Jesus knew the confusion and the frailty of our human condition. He had been with God throughout the entire history of humanity, and then he came to walk in our midst. Jesus knew at first hand how human beings exploited one another and the world in which they live through deceit … deceit of each other, and deceit of self. Jesus knew that, long before the evolutionary theories of Charles Darwin, humanity revelled in the principle of ‘the survival of the fittest’ … at any cost!

Today the Church remembers Mark the Evangelist, the one who wrote the first of the four synoptic gospels. That celebration makes it particularly apposite that we should be hearing Jesus’ warning against our being led astray by those who will claim a kingship they do not possess, and certainly do not deserve.

Too often we hear of new teachings that cause us to feel uncomfortable. Sometimes those new teachings are sensible and demonstrate progress in human knowledge and thinking. Sometimes they seem to fly in the face of that which ‘feels right’ and, worse still, in the face of scripture. 

The Good News of Jesus Christ has been handed down to us in the writings of Holy Scripture. We have a record of the words and actions of the Son of God, and we have early theological interpretations of those words and actions in the other writings that are contained within the New Testament. Then, to help us understand both context and history we are given the Old Testament. The holy scriptures contain an endless catalogue of challenges. They speak of things that seem to fly in the face of modern thinking and modern practice, but we consider them irrelevant at our peril.

Today Jesus cautions against our being led astray. Today Jesus is urging us to stand firm in our faith, as passed down to us in the words of scripture. Today we are being challenged to consider how ‘modern teaching’ stands up to the scrutiny of Christ’s own words. Then we are being challenged to not be led astray!