Virtual Voices

Jesus breaks the fourth wall

Faith & Inspiration

It is called “breaking the fourth wall” when a character in a play suddenly turns to address the audience. One is startled, having up to this point observed the action in the story from the safety of anonymity and behind the wall of a different dimension.

Jesus breaks the fourth wall in Mark 13. Peter, James, John, and Andrew corner him privately on the Mount of Olives to ask for signs of the end of the world. Jesus divulges a great number of precursors, some proximate and some distant. We, the audience to this 2,000-year-old conversation, feel Jesus is talking only to them when He said:

“Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning—lest he come suddenly and find you asleep.”

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But at this juncture Jesus turns from the Apostles, as it were, and looks straight at you and me:

“And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.”

This gives me the chills. I see my name on it: “Andrée, stay awake.” And of course, since now He has woken me in my stuffed armchair by this one verse, I at once go back to the previous verses to see what other commands are directed toward me. Jesus’ “aside” to you and me throws open not only the whole chapter of Mark 13 but the entire Bible. I am supposed to pay attention to it all and act on it and “stay awake.”

Andrée Seu Peterson
Andrée Seu Peterson

Andrée is the author of three books: Won't Let You Go Unless You Bless Me, Normal Kingdom Business, and We Shall Have Spring Again. Follow Andrée on Twitter @Andreespeterson.

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