Mark chapter 13 is primarily referencing the coming destruction of Jerusalem and its temple in AD 70. It’s theme of being watchful (vv. 5, 9, 23, 33, 35, 37) has application for Christ’s second coming as well for our own personal endings in death. I thought of the words of Sophie Scholl who lived in the midst of the nightmare that was Nazi Germany. In her diary entry for August 9, 1942 she wrote:
Many people believe that our age is the last. All the omens are terrible enough to make one think so, but isn’t that belief of secondary importance? Mustn’t we all, no matter what age we live in, be permanently prepared for God to call us to account from one moment to the next? How am I to know if I shall still be alive tomorrow? We could all be wiped out overnight by a bomb, and my guilt would be no less than if I perished in company with the earth and the stars. –I know all that, but don’t I heedlessly fritter away my life just the same? O God, I beseech you to take away my frivolity and self-will, which clings to the sweet, ephemeral things of life. I can’t do it myself, I’m far too weak.