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The Passion of the Community
(Mark 13)

Chapter 13, a speech in the middle of the Gospel’s second half, parallels chapter 4, a speech in the middle of its first half. The parables of the first speech suggest how the realm of God begins to take hold on the earth in the present age. Traditional images of the “last things” (eschatology) in the second speech suggest how the realm of God will culminate in the age to come. Jesus is “sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple” (13:3), and the speech opens with his prediction of the temple’s destruction. If Mark’s first audience heard this speech not long after the actual destruction of the temple by the Romans, it must have provided assurance that the catastrophe was bound to happen but was not the end of the age—it was survivable…

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