Wednesday 19 August, 2015
13 As Jesus was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!” 2 “Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.” 3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked him privately, 4 “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?” 5 Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 6 Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many. 7 When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 8 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.
I keep learning how many levels Jesus talks on! When Jesus was talking about the destruction of the temple, he was talking on one level about his own death and resurrection, but he was also talking about the notion of the way that mankind interacts with God: The temple was the symbol of God’s presence on earth, but Christ’s work changed it all in 3 days by fulfilling the law and bringing into place a whole new covenant!
Not only this, but he was also speaking prophetically about the literal destruction of the physical temple in about 70AD, which has never been rebuilt. This is a mark that the law has been fulfilled.
As I read today, I feel like there is a fourth, more contemporary application that I am drawing out of the Word. There is certainly a temptation for me to get amazed and inspired by the things of this world. Even when these things lead to worship of Him, God has reminded me today to keep an eternal perspective – the end of the world will come one day, and even if it doesn’t come in the next 10 years, I need to remember that my life on earth is transient!
Lord, thank you that you have placed eternity in the hearts of mankind. Thank you for your fresh revelation from your Word today. Amen
Written by Ps. Justin Ware
It always amazes me peoples preoccupation with end times prophesy. Many times in my life I have heard the gentle encouraging and correcting voice of the Holy Spirit and I cannot ever remember it being about the end of all things.
Thanks Justin, that was concise and thought-provoking.
Thanks Justin, totally agree, you’ve reminded me to sink my anchor into the eternal
My further thoughts!!:
The NIV translates in verse 7: “Do not be alarmed, such things must happen.”
These words have real power and significance, but they are so difficult to apply to my life sometimes.
To me it looks like Christ here is not being dismissive of the trauma of catastrophe, nor is he teaching his disciples that they should disengage from welfare efforts. He is not saying that they should just chill out and watch idly as the city of Jerusalem is torn stone from stone, both literally and figuratively.
What he is teaching me in this scenario is a continuation from his previous lessons on anxiety. “Which of you by worrying will add an hour to his life?” and “tomorrow has enough worries for itself”
(Matthew 6:27 -34).
Unfortunately as I have gotten older and taken on more responsibility, I have at times tended to also worry more about the things that I am responsible for.
I have found that worry is not only very anti-fun, but it is also destructive to faith.
The challenge for me is the tension between being a good steward of what I have been entrusted with and worrying to the point where I’m not trusting God to continue to care for me amongst the dangers of the world.
Lord, I need you to continue to show me how to be completely trusting of you, while still being able to be a good steward of what I have by not taking unhealthy and unhelpful risks.
Watch out that no one deceives you. What an interesting phrase. Jesus clearly believes that some people will follow Him and set out to deceive the disciples, thus taking them off task and impacting the spread of the Gospel.
Deception is an insidious thing. We entertain a thought we want to be true, we convince ourselves that it is in fact true even though it isn’t. A person comes and tries to convince us with high sounding arguments. Deception is a spiritual transaction, not simply believing a lie, it is like a spider’s web and like a spider’s web it needs to be unravelled.
Jesus simply says watch out for those who seek to deceive you. Watch out for the web that is being spun, the lies, the inducements, the temptations.
How do I stay watchful.
Firstly stay close to those I know know the truth. Don’t isolate, especially around a ‘new friend’. Be prayerful for God to bring understanding to the scriptures for me. Study God’s truth and those who are recognised scholars so that I do not blindly follow into error.
Father help me to stay true to You. Give me people who will constantly lead me to You and Your truth.