Basically, for those listening to Jesus their world was going to end. Rome was finally going to move in and raze Jerusalem and destroy the Temple. The heart and soul of the Jewish people was about to be ripped out. The world, as the Jews knew it, was coming to the end.
This would be the equivalent, I'm guessing, to an invading force entering America and destroying Washington, DC. The White House, the Capital, the Lincoln Memorial. All of it, torn down or desecrated. The ultimate national humiliation. Our world, our proud history, ended.
And speaking to those who would be living in the middle of this most horrific and epochal event Jesus says this: Flee to the hills. Don't stand with your nation and the freedom fighters making a last stand. Let Jerusalem fall. Let the Temple be destroyed.
What Jesus was saying is pretty darn startling: Flee, don't resist invaders of your homeland.
No wonder they killed Jesus. We'd kill Jesus for suggesting such a thing today.
So what were Jesus's followers supposed to do? This is Jesus's constant refrain in Mark 13: Watch. That is, in fact, how Jesus's apocalyptic discourse ends, with the command to watch.
That's what I'm doing now with my beloved America. I'm just watching it fall apart. Personally, I think we are headed to a very bad place and we've lost our ability to save ourselves. In our fear-driven panic we've lost our ability to turn back from the precipice. We're going to go over the edge. Maybe sooner, maybe later. But it's just a matter of time.
But you know what? That's okay. Empire's come. Empires go.
And the church simply watches.
--an unpublished post