While that is a true statement – it need not instill a sense of fear and panic. In spite of the fact that we do not know the future, there is no need to run out and buy a survival bunker. As followers of Jesus, we are called to interact with, and influence our culture as salt and light, not withdraw and retreat from it in a survival bunker with 50 cans of Spam.
But still, if you could, would you choose to know the future? I love movies about time travel and the limits of time. However, I’m not sure I would want to know the details of the future because it would reveal my immaturity, selfishness and shortsightedness.
In Mark 13 Jesus reveals that even he does not know when the end times would kick off. How can that be? He’s God, right? The Father has set the timetable for the future, not the Son. Jesus was unaware of the details of the Father’s plan for the future because Jesus, although God, had voluntarily laid aside access to his divine privileges while he was incarnate – in bodily form (Phil. 2). This voluntary laying aside of his divine attributes explains how Jesus could “grow in wisdom” (Luke 2:52). By the way, my guess is that since he’s back with the Father, he probably now knows about these things.
This “ignorance” brings up a question of how did Jesus know the many details of the future that he does know – short answer – (and I could be wrong), but I think the Father likely revealed those details of his approaching betrayal, suffering and death in his quiet moments with the Father. God the Father spoke to God the Son with details about His path as they approached. The Son needed to know these specific facts to successfully navigate his culture and successfully accomplish his mission. This is similar to the Spirit’s role in our lives as well – he often guides us and gives us insight and even knowledge about specifics future directions in our lives.
While on earth, Jesus was walking with his disciples as a fellow time bound human and like his disciples, he had no advantage of knowing all the future details about the end times. He was staying awake, alert, attentive and he urged his disciples to do the same (Mark repeated “stay awake” 4 times in these 6 short verses). God the Father spoke to God the Son with details about His path as they approached and Jesus heard the voice of his Father because he was awake, alert – he was anticipating the voice of the Father.
What does that mean for us today? We don’t know the future – nor should we. Yet we are all called to remain vigilant in our expectant watch of Jesus’ return. And, God the Father speaks to us through rightly understanding His Word and through His indwelling Holy Spirit. So, if you are confused about which path to take in your situation, have you spent some time with the Father alertly anticipating His voice?