July 23 - Promised Destruction of the Temple

Monday, July 23, 2012

July 23 - Promised Destruction of the Temple
Matthew 24:1-2; 26:61; Mark 13:3, 5-8; Mark 15:29; Luke 19:41-44; 21:5; John 2:19-20

If you glance through these scripture passages (you can simply hover over the verse when reading this on the blogsite and the verse will pop up for you to read), you will see that they are a mixture of Jesus warning of the temple’s destruction as well as the promise that he would rebuild the temple in three days.

While we look back at these words with understanding that Jesus was speaking of himself in one instance and Herod’s in another; early listeners would not have been able to make that leap.  They didn’t have enough context.  These words would have been astounding to them.  It took years to build the temple, with an immense amount of money and offerings from everywhere.  Not only did they have trouble imagining that possibility, but the idea that a Jew could ever destroy the temple would have been beyond their imagination.

The thing is, as we attempt to understand Jesus’ words as literal words, and see them as prophetic regarding the actual temple’s destruction in 70AD; one of the most important things that he was telling his disciples was that earthly things such as the temple which was revered by all Jews were not nearly as important as their relationship to God.

If a building comes down, we might feel devastated, but we are not destroyed. A building can be rebuilt.  The thing of it is … entropy will cause all manmade structures to be brought to the ground.  There is nothing that will last forever.

I grew up listening to my mother’s fascination with a little ghost town in Iowa, just north of our cabin.  We drove through quite a few times, and over the years, we watched as it dwindled away, each road and lot becoming part of another cornfield.  When the railroad was coming through Iowa, Homer had been a county seat.  The railroad had a choice – to go through Homer or through Fort Dodge.  The little town was devastated when the choice was finally made. They knew it was the death of their community.  Little by little, all of the homes came down, their foundations destroyed and turned back into arable land.  Finally all that was left was one single road that went through what had been the community.  There’s a sign there now, that’s all.

Everything that we see will someday be gone.  Change comes, transformation occurs, the physical aspects of communities, buildings and structures will morph into other things.  But, what Jesus wanted us to know was that our spirits … his spirit … that part of us which is in constant communication with God will never change.  If it is struck down, it will be raised again, because of that connection.

The things we know on earth are temporal, they will fade away . The things we know in heaven are eternal, they will never change.