This month I got to preach on Mark 13:1-27 at my church home, Grace Evangelical Free Church (La Mirada and Fullerton). We’re preaching through the gospel of Mark, and behold, the time had come for the Olivet Discourse.
Though most of the commentaries I consulted on this text are not what I would call encouraging to the preacher (“hardest passage in the NT,” “dozens of possible meanings for each saying,” etc.) they did help me see just how deeply Jesus enters into the role of prophet in this discourse. Hearing biblical prophecy from the mouth of Jesus really gives us new access to the whole prophetic message of the Bible.
As a result, I tried to preach the passage as an introduction to biblical prophecy in general, with an emphasis on the way prophecy culminates in the person and work of Jesus, who is of course not just the prophet on the Mount of Olives, but the priest seated over against the Jerusalem temple (Mark 13:3), and the king who Daniel saw coming as the Son of Man with the clouds in power and glory (Mark 13:26).
For you nature lovers, right around the 21-minute mark is an extended illustration using mountains to explain the tricks of perspective and parallax error that attend interpreting prophetic revelation. Then at the end I get enthusiastic (for me) about clouds.