Mark 13:33
Take you heed, watch and pray: for you know not when the time is.
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(33) Take ye heed.—Note once more the characteristic iteration of the warning. It would almost seem, from the very different conclusions of the discourse in the three Gospels, as if they had been based up to this point on a common document which then stopped and left them to a greater divergency of memory or tradition. The omission of St. Matthew’s reference to the history of Noah is, perhaps, characteristic of St. Mark’s as a Gentile Gospel.

Mark 13:33-37. Take ye heed — Of every thing that would unfit you for your Master’s coming, that might lull you into a fatal security, and render you negligent and slothful: watch and pray — Let your minds be always awake to a sense of your danger, and be on your guard against it: watch for the coming of your Lord, that it may not surprise you, and pray for that grace which is necessary to qualify you for it, by enabling you to fulfil his will in all things. For ye know not when the time is — And ought to be ready every day for that which may come any day. This he illustrates in the close by a parable. The Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, &c. — Being about to leave this world and go to the Father; who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, &c. — Gave authority to some that were to be overseers, and work to others that were to be labourers; and commanded the porter to watch — To be ready to open to him at his return; and in the mean time to take care to whom he should open his gates, not to idle vagrants, thieves, and robbers, but only to his master’s friends and servants. Thus our Lord Jesus, when he ascended on high, left something to all his servants to do, expecting they should all serve his cause in his absence, and be ready to receive him at his return. All are appointed to work, and some are authorized to rule. See notes on Matthew 24:42-51. Watch ye therefore — The advice is repeated and pressed upon them, because of its unspeakable importance, as it is also upon us. For ye know not when the master of the house cometh — The builder, head, and ruler of his house, the church; the Son, presiding over his own house, or family, Hebrews 3:6 : Ye know not when he will come to take account of his servants, and of their work, and of the improvement they have made; at even or at midnight, &c. — Οψε, evening, answers to the first watch of the night, which began at sun-setting and ended at nine: μεσονυκτιον, or midnight, answers to the second watch, which ended at twelve: αλεκτοροφωνια, or the cock-crowing, answers to the third watch, which ended at three in the morning: πρωι, or the morning, answers to the fourth watch, which ended at six. As if he had said, Early and late, hold yourselves in a prepared state; lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping — In a state of lukewarmness and sloth. Observe, reader! 1st, This is applicable to his coming to each of us in particular at death, as well as to his coming to us all in general at the final judgment. Our present life is a night, a dark night, compared with the other life; we know not in which watch of the night our Master will come; whether in the days of youth, or middle age, or old age; but as soon as we are born, we begin to die; and therefore, as soon as we are capable of expecting any thing, we must expect death. 2d, Our great care must be that, whenever our Lord comes, he do not find us sleeping secure in ourselves, off our guard, indulging ourselves in ease and sloth, mindless of our work and duty, and thoughtless of our Lord’s coming; ready to say, He will not come, and so being unprepared to meet him. 3d, His coming will indeed be a sudden coming; it will be a great surprise and terror to those that are careless and asleep: it will come upon them as a thief in the night. It is therefore, 4th, the indispensable duty of all Christ’s disciples to watch, to be awake, and keep awake. What I say unto you twelve, I say unto all — My disciples and followers; what I say to you of this generation, I say to all that shall believe in me through your word: Watch — Expect my second coming, and prepare for it, that you may be found in peace, without spot and blameless. 13:28-37 We have the application of this prophetic sermon. As to the destruction of Jerusalem, expect it to come very shortly. As to the end of the world, do not inquire when it will come, for of that day and that hour knoweth no man. Christ, as God, could not be ignorant of anything; but the Divine wisdom which dwelt in our Saviour, communicated itself to his human soul according to the Divine pleasure. As to both, our duty is to watch and pray. Our Lord Jesus, when he ascended on high, left something for all his servants to do. We ought to be always upon our watch, in expectation of his return. This applies to Christ's coming to us at our death, as well as to the general judgment. We know not whether our Master will come in the days of youth, or middle age, or old age; but, as soon as we are born, we begin to die, and therefore we must expect death. Our great care must be, that, whenever our Lord comes, he may not find us secure, indulging in ease and sloth, mindless of our work and duty. He says to all, Watch, that you may be found in peace, without spot, and blameless.Neither the Son - This text has always presented serious difficulties. It has been asked, If Jesus had a divine nature, how could he say that he knew not the day and hour of a future event? In reply, it has been said that the passage was missing, according to Ambrose, in some Greek manuscripts; but it is now found in all, and there can be little doubt that the passage is genuine. Others have said that the verb rendered "knoweth" means sometimes to "make" known or to reveal, and that the passage means, "that day and hour none makes known, neither the angels, nor the Son, but the Father." It is true that the word has sometimes that meaning, as in 1 Corinthians 2:2, but then it is natural to ask where has "the Father" made it known? In what place did he reveal it? After all, the passage has no more difficulty than that in Luke 2:52, where it is said that Jesus increased in wisdom and stature. He had a human nature. He grew as a man in knowledge. As a man his knowledge must be finite, for the faculties of the human soul are not infinite. As a man he often spoke, reasoned, inquired, felt, feared, read, learned, ate, drank, and walked. Why are not all these, which imply that he was a "man" - that, "as a man," he was not infinite - why are not these as difficult as the want of knowledge respecting the particular "time" of a future event, especially when that time must be made known by God, and when he chose that the man Christ Jesus should grow, and think, and speak "as a man?" 33. Take ye heed, watch and pray; for ye know not when the time is. See Poole on "Mark 13:32 Take ye heed, watch and pray,.... This seems to be the principal reason why the day and hour of Jerusalem's destruction, though known by the Father, were not made known to any man, neither to the angels, nor by them; nor to the son of man in the days of his flesh, nor by him when on earth; that his people might be upon their guard, against false Christs, and prophets, and their deception; and watch unto prayer, and in it, lest they fell into temptation, and that day should come upon them unawares:

for ye know not when the time is; the exact and precise time: for though the people of God had notice of it, and were sensible it was at hand, and did make their escape out of Jerusalem; yet they knew not the exact time, but that it might be sooner or later; and the unbelieving Jews were blinded, and in the dark about it to the very last; See Gill on Matthew 24:42.

Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.
Mark 13:33-37. Comp. Matthew 24:42, Matthew 24:44 ff., Matthew 25:14. By way of an energetic conclusion Mark has here a passage, which has been formed by the aggregation of several different portions—belonging to this connection, and most completely preserved in Matthew from the collection of Logia—on the part of tradition or of the evangelist himself into a well-adjusted, compact, and imposing unity.

Mark 13:34. ὡς] an anantapodoton, as at Matthew 25:14. See in loc. With ὡς the plan of the discourse was, after Mark 13:34, to subjoin: so do I also bid you: watch! Instead of this, after ἵνα γρηγορῇ, with an abandonment of the plan of sentence introduced by ὡς, there follows at once, with striking and vivid effect, the exhortation itself: γρηγορεῖτε, which now, just because the ὡς is forgotten, is linked on by οὖν.

ἀπόδημος] is not equivalent to ἀποδημῶν (Matthew 25:14), but: who has taken a journey. Pind. Pyth. iv. 8; Plut. Mor. p. 299 E. At the same time ἐνετείλατο is not to be taken as a pluperfect, but: “as a traveller, when he had left his house, after having given to his slaves the authority and to each one his work, gave to the doorkeeper also command, in order that he should watch.” In this we have to observe: (1) the ἐνετείλατο took place after the ἀπόδημος had gone out of his house; (2) καὶ δοὺς κ.τ.λ., in which καί is also, is subordinate to the ἀφεὶς κ.τ.λ., because prior to the leaving of the house; (3) ἄνθρωπος ἀπόδημ.] forms one notion: a man finding himself on a journey, a traveller; comp. ἄνθρωπος ὁδίτης, Horn. Il. xvi. 263; Od. xiii. 123; ἄνθρ. ἔμπορος, Matthew 13:45, al.; (4) the ἐξουσία, the authority concerned in the case, is according to the context the control over the household. This He gave to all in common; and, moreover, to every one in particular the special business which he had to execute. Fritzsche is wrong in making the participles ἀφείςκαὶ δούς dependent on ἀπόδημος: “homo, qui relicta domo sua et commissa servis procuratione assignatoque suo cuique penso peregre abfuit.” Against this may be urged, partly that ἀφεὶς τ. οἰκ. αὐτοῦ would be a quite superfluous definition to ἀπόδημος, partly that δοὺς κ.τ.λ. would need to stand before ἀφεὶς κ.τ.λ., because the man first made the arrangement and then left the house.

Mark 13:35. γρηγορεῖτε οὖν] the apostles thus are here compared with the doorkeeper.

As to the four watches of the night, see on Matthew 14:24. They belong to the pictorial effect of the parable; the night-season is in keeping with the figurative γρηγορεῖτε, without exactly expressing “a dark and sad time” (Lange). Singularly at variance with the text as it stands, Theophylact and many others interpret it of the four ages of human life.

Mark 13:37. The reference to one thought is not at variance with the use of the plural (see the critical remarks). See Kühner, ad Xen. Anab. iii. 5. 5.

πᾶσι] to all who confess me.Mark 13:33. ἀγρυπνεῖτε: watch, be sleepless (α pr.v. and ὕπνος).—οὐκ οἴδατε, etc., ye know not the time or season (καιρός) of the parusia. If even the Son knows not, still less His disciples; therefore let them watch.33. Take ye heed, watch and pray] “Se ze, wake ze, and preie ze,” Wyclif The word rendered “watch” only occurs 4 times in the New Testament: (1) here; (2) in the parallel, Luke 21:36; (3) Ephesians 6:18, “Praying always … and watching thereunto with all perseverance;” (4) Hebrews 13:17, “Obey them that have the rule over you, … for they watch for your souls.” It denotes (1) to be sleepless, (2) to be vigilant.Verses 33-37. - These exhortations, which gather up in a succinct form the practical bearing of the parallel passages and parables in St. Matthew, must not be understood as implying that our Lord's coming in judgment would be during the lifetime of his disciples. The preceding words would teach them plainly enough that the actual time of this coming was hidden from the. m. But the intention was that, while by the certainty of the event their faith and hope would be quickened, by the uncertainty of the time they might be left in a continual state of watchfulness and prayer. According to the Jewish reckoning, there were only three watches - namely, the first watch, from sunset to 10 p.m.; the second watch, from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.; and the third watch, from 2 a.m. to sunrise. But after the establishment of the Roman power in Judaea, these watches were divided into four; and were either described as the first, second, third, and fourth respectively; or, as here, by the terms even, beginning at six and ending at nine; midnight, ending at twelve; cockcrowing, ending at three; and morning, ending at six.

Watch (ἀγρυπνεῖτε)

The word is derived from ἀγρεύω, do hunt, and ὕπνος, sleep. The picture is of one in pursuit of sleep, and therefore wakeful, restless. Wyc.'s rendering of the whole passage is striking: See! wake ye and pray ye!

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