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Mark 13:36

ESV lest he come suddenly and find you asleep.
NIV If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping.
NASB so that he does not come suddenly and find you asleep.
CSB Otherwise, when he comes suddenly he might find you sleeping.
NLT Don’t let him find you sleeping when he arrives without warning.
KJV Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.
NKJV lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping.

What does Mark 13:36 mean?

Jesus' short parable of the absentee master is a warning to Christ-followers in the tribulation. They need to remember His words and recognize when He will return. Luke's account suggests an intriguing interpretation. He says, "But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man" (Luke 21:36).

In the Bible, to be "awake" is a euphemism for being alive, while being "asleep" means to be dead (Matthew 27:52; John 11:11; 1 Corinthians 15:51). Jesus doesn't just want His followers in the tribulation to be aware, He wants them to use that awareness to stay alive.

During the tribulation, many, many Christ-followers will be hunted and killed by the Antichrist (Revelation 13:7; 17:6). But Jesus explains that they should still try to survive. In fact, they should pray for favorable conditions (Mark 13:18). He tells them to be aware of false teachers (Mark 13:5), run from impending violence (Mark 13:14), and keep a clear head (Mark 13:35). He also promises that the tribulation will not last long. If the tribulation saints can remember Jesus' words, they will have a better chance of being "awake" when He returns.

Prayer to God can feel like a paradox. He knows everything that will happen (1 John 3:20), and yet we are still commanded to tell Him our needs and worries (1 Peter 5:7). Asking and listening to God's reply is part of the process of having our needs met. When we keep our eyes on Him, we are better able to see when He opens His hand to provide for us.
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