“Whoever holds out to the end will be saved”.
Mk 13:13 GNB
Friedrich Nietzsche … wrote “The essential thing in heaven and earth is that there should be a long obedience in the same direction; there results and has always resulted in the long run, something which has made life worth living”. (E.H. Peterson, The Journey, p5). In the contemporary world so much could be described as “short-term ism”. Things are not made to last. Relationships are mostly temporary. We move on quickly.
The apocalyptic thinking that colored this part of Mark’s gospel and that Jesus referred to here had a measure of short-term ism woven into it. After all, “the end” was about to arrive. But Jesus wanted to direct the disciples’ view to the longer perspective. He knew that they would have to endure much adversity when he was gone, and it would require putting their shoulders to the plough and keeping on. In fact, they were going to have to keep on keeping on. They did not know how long – only that it would require a longer-term view.
When the apostle Paul wrote his letter to the Galatian Christians he dwelt on the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit in and through the Christians in the church. And one way in which the Holy Spirit would work in them was by bringing to fruition the quality of patience. “Holding out to the end” is what many disciples have to do, sometimes with quiet patience, sometimes with actual physical suffering. Some have to bear the distrust and criticism of other disciples. Some are called to carry on when the cause they are serving seems lost. For others it means serving Jesus without any reward. But in the end these brave souls are “saved”. Jesus said so.
Lord, give me the courage to endure to the end.