Blepete - be on guard/ Mark 13:24-37 / Pr. Lucas Andre Albrecht/ Sunday November 21st 2021 / Last Sunday of the Church Year / Mount Olive Lutheran Church
Text: Mark 13:24-37
Theme: “Blepete – be on guard”
Intr – Do you have a fear of flying? Does hoping on an airplane leave your anxious or even scared? If that’s your case, or of someone you know, think about the reasons for that. Acrophobia (fear of heights); turbulence; the many accidents that have already happened(even thought they are a very small portion of all the flights happening in a day)? …
Here’s one factor that I guess 99% of the times never crosses your mind if you don’t consider yourself a friend of flying machines. The Air Traffic Controller. What is their job? Basically, Air Traffic Controllers coordinate the movement of aircrafts to maintain safe distances between them. They are one of the key pieces when it comes to flight safety. Now, do you know him or her? Do you know if they’ve slept well last night, or if they had a fight with their spouse or kids? Do you know if they are angry at their boss, or if they those types of slothful employees often trying to find some 20 or 30 minutes to scroll their phones or to play some of those hour long entertaining games?
With very rare exceptions, I’m sure we don’t. However, the plane you are flying on at 33k feet above ground is to a large extent in his/her hands. If fail happens on his or her work, especially when your aircraft is approaching the airport, there’s nothing that even the pilot can do.
What do you expect them to do then, throughout all the five 8 hour-shifts they are in front of the radar screen? Certainly the verb that is in our Gospel today could apply: Blepete. Literally it means the imperative “see”, or watch, or look. Our ESV translates it as “be on guard”. If they don’t blepete all the time, then you’ll have to resort to the other verb present in the text: pray. If the controller takes his or her eyes from where they were supposed to be for too long, there’s trouble coming.
1 – Blepete
Likewise, if you take your eyes from where they are supposed to be in your life, for too long, there’s trouble coming.
That applies to some very important matters:_Family _Work _relationships _Your health
In the Gospel the focus is on the most important one - your spiritual life. If you take your eyes for too long of what you know from the Bible that reality is there’s spiritual trouble coming – even if for now your plane is flying like nothing unusual is going to happen. Just like in a plane crash, a series of unattended and overlooked events may end up in a tragic outcome.
Jesus talks about the end. As we see in many parts of the Bible, you must live your life loving God and your neighbours, and your family, and your enemy, and doing everything else that is important in life. But never take your eyes off of this reality: there will be an end. And a New Beginning.
_How the end will be: Pastor Giese’s last week’s sermon outlines it well: “Through History many people have thought, “I am living in the Last Days,” perhaps you have thought the same about the days we are living in now and in a way — even if The End for the World is yet far off — there is a way in which this is true of all of us, for we each only have so many days and we do not know when our personal Last Day will come. One way or the other the end is coming. Now should you be afraid of it? As Christians, baptised into Christ Jesus should you be afraid of it? No. Because you know what will come, Jesus has shown you already. Jesus will come on That Day; and on your Last Day, should that day come first, Jesus promises to come and take you to Himself that where He is you may be also.
For you then The End will not be zombies, or an Alien invasion from outer space like Hollywood says, and it will not be an asteroid and nothingness, it will not be extinction like the Materialist says, no it will be Life, it will be the Resurrection, it will be Peace and Rest from the troubles of this life.(…) As Jesus says, “the one who endures to the end will be saved.” … but you say, “I’m not sure if I can endure the pains of this life right to the end?” “I’m weak.” Dear one, find your forgiveness in Jesus He endured all even death on the cross without fault”
_Life eternal – our greatest hope;
_It’s great that we have a Baptism today, on the last day of the Church Year. For the eternal life begins in Baptism, in the moment we receive the saving faith in Jesus. At that moment you have received also the promise of life everlasting. It’s and already/not yet type of thing.
Then Jesus caps of His description of the end times with Blepete. Be on guard. Keep the eyes of your faith focused on Him.
Perhaps you’re thinking as you hear me “That’s important, Pastor, but it is so hard to do; even when I try hard.” I hear you. It’s hard for all of us. Using a Football metaphor, we all fumble and fail. We miss so many opportunities to score and are left thinking that there’s no hope for us.
Now, continuing on the football field, what happens when a football team fumbles the ball, commits a mistake? Do they sit on the turf saddened by that fact, talking to each other about what just happened and lamenting their bad luck? No, all players on the field immediately focus their energy on tackling the problem by stopping the other team’s progress as soon as possible.
When you fumble in life, quickly tackle the issue. Stop the progress of the trouble, stop the bleeding. Bring your sin, bring your heart, bring your everything to Christ. He will always offer His forgiveness through repentance and faith. On His Cross he scored the biggest play and victory ever. In Him, the victory is won. Our life has now the blessed assurance of His peace.
2 – Eyes fixed on Him
Why is it so important to Blepete, to be on guard, watching and praying? One of the main reasons is that many times in life you’ll be challenged, even discouraged in your faith, for various reasons, and from many corners of your life of relationships. One of the main aspects of that discouragement is something along the lines of “how can you believe in someone you don’t see?”
Remember the air traffic controller, that person that may have your life in his or hands eyes, or his/her hands? Now, have you ever seen one, talked to one? Do you talk to the one who will be responsible for your flight every time you’re about to embark in an aircraft? I bet you don’t. We will never see in life most, or all of the air traffic controllers there are. We never heard a word from them and we will never know if they were good at school – would you like to discover that your doctor or flight controller was one of those D- students?
Still you hop on your plane, whether afraid or not, and trust to that imperfect sinner like yourself your life and your family’s.
Now talk about trusting your life to Jesus, the perfect life flight controller! The one who is real, is near, is saving and is present. Every day and all the time, to hold us in His hands, to forgive us and to save us from spiritual crash.
“Still, if I needed to, I could ask to go up the tower and see the controller to make sure he or she exists. What about Jesus?”
Jesus is the Word of God. Every time you see the Word of God, you see the real Jesus. Every time you go to Holy Communion, you receive the real Jesus in you. Go to the Word. Get to know more and more the one who never fails in giving control and stability to your flight even in the worst turbulence of life.
Blepete! Be on guard, pray, trust Him. You also have the privilege of sharing it, taking this awesome hope to many perhaps flying by night desperately in need of a Word of peace and security, Jesus is there for you, for essentials of daily life. Family, Work, relationships, your health. Especially, Jesus is there through faith in you and for you until the end comes.
Cc – So I don’t know if you’re afraid of flying or not. Never fear being embarked in the journey of faith though, cruising safely in Christ. It can be a bumpy flight sometimes, for sure. But you know that through Faith the Life Flight Controller never, not even for a second, will take His eyes off of you.
 It is not present in the ESV but it is in the majority of the Bible Manuscripts copies.
After the Dystopia, After the Apocalypse / Mark 13:1–13 / Pr. Ted A. Giese / Sunday November 14th 2021. Availabe at: https://lutheran-church-regina.com/blogs/post/after-the-dystopia-after-the-apocalypse-mark-13113-pr-ted-a-giese-sunday-november-14th-2021-season-of-pentecost-mount-olive-lutheran-church
 To become and air traffic controller, candidates typically need “an associate's or a bachelor's degree from the Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative program. Other applicants must have 3 years of progressively responsible work experience, have completed 4 years of college, or have a combination of both.” https://www.bls.gov/ooh/transportation-and-material-moving/air-traffic-controllers.htm