Matthew 24:1-14 (NIV)
1 Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. 2 “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “Truly I tell you, 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, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” 4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains. 9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
This passage challenges me to consider – where do I put my trust?
No wonder the disciples were anxious to know when the temple would be destroyed. The temple represented so much of their identity and history. It represented God being with them, a permanence of their culture, a focus of their worship. Being an occupied nation, their security obviously was an ever present fear. Here Jesus doesn’t say he will preserve all that, rather he predicts its destruction.
Did it occur to the disciples that their trust was in the wrong place? Without the temple could they be sure God was still with them? When Jesus predicts the signs of the end times, I noticed much of what he was warning about was to do with where people will place their trust – in significant religious places, in false teachers, fake Messiahs, in charismatic leaders, in ideologies. What these will provide is shaky ground and bring about division among Christians. There have been some obvious recent examples.
My trust has to be firmly in Him – to withstand these glittery alternatives. And the only way I know to stand firm is by trusting in Jesus and his promises for me, all based on the rock that is God – the God who is in control.
Lord, when the chaos of the end of days comes, your love for me will still be as strong as ever. By your Spirit, I will stand firm on your love and on Jesus’ death and resurrection. Amen.
Written by Claire Moore