You cannot help but admire stunning architecture and beautiful buildings. They give shape and grandeur to our streets and our lives. But, ultimately, however amazing and well crafted they are, they are just bricks and mortar – and plenty of glass in the case of modern buildings.
The Temple Will Be Destroyed
13 As Jesus was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Teacher, look at these beautiful stones and wonderful buildings!”
2 Jesus replied, “Do you see these huge buildings? They will certainly be torn down! Not one stone will be left in place.”
Warning about Trouble
3 Later, as Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives across from the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew came to him in private. 4 They asked, “When will these things happen? What will be the sign that they are about to take place?”
5 Jesus answered:
Watch out and don’t let anyone fool you! 6 Many will come and claim to be me. They will use my name and fool many people.
7 When you hear about wars and threats of wars, don’t be afraid. These things will have to happen first, but that isn’t the end. 8 Nations and kingdoms will go to war against each other. There will be earthquakes in many places, and people will starve to death. But this is just the beginning of troubles.
The disciples were very impressed with the Temple building, no doubt with some justification, as Solomon had put a lot of effort into its construction. It was meant to be impressive – it was built for God.
But before they get too carried away, Jesus reminds them that it is not the buildings that are important, but the God they represent. It drives me to distraction when people insist on keeping buildings in their original condition. Yes they may be beautiful, but do they serve the purpose they were intended for? If not, they should be adapted to serve the needs of today. It is more important that a church (or any other building for that matter) should be useful than kept in a museum like state. The Temple was to facilitate worship of God, not be the object of that worship itself..
Jesus reminds us to worship God, not the house we have built for him. Bricks are temporary – God lasts forever. Nothing, however impressive, should get in the way of our relationship with God.
- Are there other things that we have put in the way of God? Things that we focus on instead of him?
may I not worship the trappings of church
– but you.
May I focus,
not on things that are temporary,
but on you who is eternal.