A sign greets you as you pull into the drive and wonder what you’re in for: “Beware of Dog.” The warning has an ominous feel whether or not you hear barking. Immediately you become more aware, on the lookout.
Being on guard involves cautiousness and alertness, causing us to pay more attention to our surroundings … just in case. Ironically, Jesus uses the same word to warn against evil and necessitate wise living.
First, He says, “Beware of the scribes,” whose practices dishonor God and merit “the greater condemnation” (Mark 12:38-40).
Not long after, He continues, “See that no one leads you astray” when the end draws near. “Many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray … But be on your guard” (13:5-6, 9).
In a rich passage of teaching, Jesus explains the critical importance of keeping our eyes open while navigating this wicked-infected world until His coming. My Bible’s study notes indicate Greek origins meaning “to see or watch”—translated “beware,” “see that,” and “be on your guard” throughout these chapters.
God’s Provision: We can do so because Jesus has “told [us] all things beforehand” (23). We know what to expect from the enemy.
The call is to stay awake for Christ’s return.
“Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning—lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.”
Scripture’s urgency is convicting. I should daily become more diligent, mindful, and Spirit-led, hastening the Day!
“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.”
– 1 Corinthians 16:13
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
– 1 Peter 5:8
“For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward.”
– 2 John 1:7-8
Word of the Week: Sobriety. Clear-headedness and seriousness in anticipation of Jesus the Just.
“You yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape … So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.”
– 1 Thessalonians 5:3-4, 6