21 May 2018
GraceNotes – A Journey of Discovery
Scripture: Matthew 24:1-2 (Click link for scripture in Bible Gateway)
1 As Jesus was leaving the Temple grounds, his disciples pointed out to him the various Temple buildings. 2 But he responded, “Do you see all these buildings? I tell you the truth, they will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!” (Matthew 24:1–2 NLT)
Jesus was on his way back to Bethany for the night, after speaking to the crowds and to his disciples in the Temple, and after his confrontation with the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees. His disciples, mostly country boys from Galilee, were calling his attention to the magnificent buildings of the Temple complex. These were some of the biggest and most beautiful buildings in the world at the time, and certainly the greatest Jesus and his disciples had ever seen.
Then Jesus spoke to them of a day he could see, not far off, when those buildings would be totally demolished and the great city completely destroyed! The prophet Daniel had prophesied the destruction of the previous Temple (Daniel 9:26-27; 11:30-31). That prophecy was fulfilled in 168 BC when Antiochus Epiphanes sacrificed a pig to Zeus on the Temple altar. Jesus prophesied the existing Temple’s destruction here, and about forty years later Titus placed an idol on the site of the burned Temple after he destroyed Jerusalem.
Jesus is seeing forward through the centuries with eyes of faith and back through history with eyes of understanding. Jesus the Son of God saw the rise and fall of Kingdoms and Temples and religious systems from generations before and in centuries to follow. Jesus the son of man saw the price he would pay in the next few days to set all this in motion. Jesus the Messiah knew that God’s unchanging plan would prevail and that Heaven’s eternal Kingdom would be established in the hearts and minds and lives of his faithful followers until history had run its course and King Jesus reigned from Heaven’s throne on the New Earth.
Father, As we read, think, and pray through these final chapters of Matthew, help us to think of end times and judgment and persecution and endurance and your power and purpose and Jesus’ followers faithfully enduring. And help us to think of our time and our place in the unfolding of all these things. May we be faithful as generations before us have been faithful. May we pray and believe and endure as they did. And may we faithfully preach the Good News of the Kingdom to our world! Amen!