The discussion/discourse of Mark 13, which goes to "the end" and beyond (13:13) towers over the events of Mark 14 to the same extent that the Lord does. There is a context into which these events of Mark 14 have already been put.
(Matthew 24:1 - 26:75 and Luke 21:5 - 22:71 are in sequence with Mark 13-14, when we view them "synoptically.")
This pattern is again evident, the teaching about the significance of future events preceding the events themselves (1:2,8,24; 2:9-12,20; 3:14,19,28-29;4:24-25; 5:28), and here it is explicitly punctuated and emphasized (13:23).
Peter, James, and John were the three at the Transfiguration (9:2), and in Mk 13:3, Andrew, Peter's brother, is also there. Mark 13 in certain parts has that same panoramic scope throughout time that we notice in Mk 8:38, 9:41, 10:40 as well. Finally, these four notice it, and have two questions in 13:4. The next section (Mark 13:5-13), like the telescoped saying in 8:38 takes His disciples throughout all time until the end, from that time until the end. The second part (13:14ff) starts by describing a single situation, and sounds for all the world like a situation which the Lord is preparing His four disciples and their contemporaries who are reading this for. Then He goes back in 13:24, "but in those days, after that tribulation....")
Looking at it that way, Jesus answers both questions of 13:4. When the taking down of stone from stone will be (13:14-23), and what the sign will be when all these things will be fulfilled, both those described in 13:2, the sign being 13:14, and those described in 13:26, the sign being 13:24-25.
Before going onto the time of the Lord's arrest, Mark describes the exhortation to alertness, which is not easily transmuted to be like an exhortation to "be good" for Santa, or an exhortation to be good. It is not "be good," as such, what we might expect, with an accompanying threat, but to keep on the alert, be on the alert. What has the Lord just given the disciples for all time, to be alert about? A possibly particular event in Judea, or at least that Judea would know about (13:14) ... and a world-wide event that "they will see" (13:26). The exhortation, fascinatingly, is against finding us "asleep" (13:36). It is pointedly not accompanied by a warning of something negative, just an exhortation to not be found asleep -- reminding me of what a groom might say to his bride, or even some surprise wrapped in the timing, for the Son, from the Father (13:32).
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