Mark 13:9

“See to yourselves! They will betray you to courts of law; and you will be taken to synagogues and beaten; and you will be brought up before governors and kings for my sake, so that you can bear witness before them.

watch out
suffering can take over
in the bat of an eyelash

seemingly stable families
will turn to individual advantage
catching you off-guard

there is no power
all hurt someone

when you are caught
be not surprised
behave based on something better

Mark is addressing two different times—that of Jesus and his own. This is one of those places where that is visible. Here the specific reference is to his own time as there is no report of these types of events taking place in Jesus’ time. Then it all focused on removing the leader. The disciples had not yet become problematic. In fact in Mark everyone has watched out for themselves and run away, gone underground.

It is in Mark’s own time that encouragement is needed  to deal with the double trauma of the death of Jesus and the fall of the Temple. There was also increased pressure on those who would not give up their understanding of this particular “son of adam” leading them toward the kind of fearlessness that comes when assured of being a beloved.

In Jesus’ time we will be dealing with the opportunities for witness that will come to the Disciples, Peter and the Women. The challenge to Mark and his readers is to not fail as the first followers did, but to carry the beginning of Jesus’ Good News to their generation.

There is a coming together of these two times in the opportunity to witness, testify, tell the truth. This can be translated in two different ways—witness to; witness against.

The followers of Jesus still have witnessing to do against the religious leaders of their time who thought getting rid of Jesus was all that was needed. This againstness can take the positive function of healing as well as telling more parabolic riddles the leaders can’t hear. In Mark’s time and now, again, the sense of being adversarial can be taken as a given and a witness to or before the political and religious leaders of the time is what is needed.

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