Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mark 13:1-2 Jesus Fortells the Temple's Destruction

1 Then as He went out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!” 2 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone shall be left upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”

It appears Jesus disciple’s exuberance at the Temples’ glory caused Him to lose sight of what is eternally glorious. For though the Temple with all of its magnificence which was forty-six years in the making at the time of Christ yet it was only destined to become ruins. Even though its hewn foundation stones, some estimated to weigh 500 tones a piece, were made to endure, it was not a foundation that was built on God. Sure the Temple was dedicated to God; but it was not built for God. If it was, the ruling Temple authorities would’ve instinctively received God’s Son. Instead the architects and ruling authorities of it only saw Jesus as a serious threat to their own positions within the religious and political hierarchy there. Jesus clearly reveals this in a parable of them. That though they perceived Jesus was who He said He was, yet for love of their places and standing within ancient Judaism, they plotted to destroy Him. Just as their fathers had done, down through the centuries, to all of God’s servants, He sent to them (See Mark 12:1-12).
And thus Jesus’ response to His disciple’s being captivated by the Temple’s massive hewn stones and buildings magnificence is to only give a solemn declaration of the end of it all, saying: “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone shall be left upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” Vs. 2

Now Jesus’ declaration in many ways is not just a declaration against the Temple structure itself but the whole of ancient Judaism and its worship and service of God that was centralized within it. For worship of God is never about buildings, programs and institutions, as Jews by that time had made it to be, it’s never about preserving these or their manmade and mandated traditions, ceremonial practices and system’s. Similarly it’s never about defining for people acceptable and unacceptable mediums for evangelism and or worship styles, practices and music (this is stated within the confines of the exhortation in 1 Cor. 14:33). It’s always about God and His Son connecting people, all people, regardless of their histories and backgrounds, in a personal and intimate relationship with Himself. Anything that hinders that, and or does not point people to that is destined to become ruins. As Jesus said in His great displeasure at what the Temple and worship of God had become within it when He refused to allow people to carry wares through it, saying: “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it a ‘den of thieves.” Mark 11:16 For when worship of God becomes about profiteering from the things of God or people of God or people seeking God. God takes great offense. For a house of prayer for all nations means God wants a relationship with all nations and all the peoples within them. Accepting them with all of their cultural diversities and languages God now unconditionally accepts all people because of Jesus Christ’s cross. How about you me, what are the barriers to people finding and feeling accepted and loved by God have we built up in our own hearts, lives and maybe even churches? The Temple was grand, no doubt, but because of its practices it was keeping people from God, not pointing them to Him. And when it did point people to God the image they got was a God of separation, not sanctity; woman over here, Jewish men over there, Gentiles out there. Religious leadership sit up front and separate from the throngs; and not amongst them as Jesus so often did.

And in this Jesus was unashamed and unafraid to be seen with known sinful men and women; He could care a less what it did to His own reputation (Matt. 9:9-13). Or to His ceremonial standing before the priests, if He touched a defiled or unclean person to heal them with God’s hand of compassion. That healed not just their bodies, but restored their sense of self-worth and dignity. For that is how faith often takes lasting root, grows strong and ultimately saves. So that is where we find Jesus. Not amongst the Temple priests, in their house performing their temporal service with them. Nor amongst the merchants and the “titans” of this world whose “religious” men seek to please them; who collectively turn God’s house and institutions into places where they can make profit for themselves, but amongst the people. For that is where you will always find God’s Minister, amongst and reaching out to the people in need (Matt. 21:14). Therefore though Jesus’ disciple marveled at the Temple’s magnificent structure; likely seeming to him to represent the pinnacle of God’s glory and permanence amongst Israel. Yet that Temple was going to become ruins. For when God’s glory in the Person of His Son came to it and its institutions, and those who upheld them saw Him, they had no desire for Jesus Christ’s Person, Presence and Rule within their Temple. And so with their rejection of Jesus Christ and His Kingdom’s rule and power not only within their Temple, but more importantly their own lives. Jesus leaves them and their Temple alone; and so God’s Glory, Presence and Power departs from them as well. For God’s glory will not reside where God’s Son is not welcomed, exalted and kept at the forefront of all things.
Since Jesus Christ is the Chief Cornerstone of all that God has ever built and will ever build and is now building in accord with the new creation. In which the redemption and transformation of every believing sinner, by Holy Spirit regeneration, by belief in the truth, whether Jew or Gentile is step one in God’s recreation of all of creation from sin and its horrific effects on us all. Jesus Christ Himself then being the first born from the dead to usher in this new era, covenant and specifically Temple, as the Scripture describes both us as individual believers in the Lord, but also as a collective people united by God’s Spirit as being built upon the Apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ being the Chief Cornerstone which God Himself has laid (See 1 Cor. 3:16-17; 6:18-20; Eph. 2:19-22). And thus we as worshippers of God in spirit and truth must build on if we hope to have anything that will remain which will have eternal impacts here and now. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. Col. 1:16-18
For with Jesus Christ’s crucifixion death to to redeem us all from sin and death God has forever ended the enmity not only between Himself and humanity, because of sin, symbolized by the tearing of the Temple veil (See Matt. 27:50-51); but also the enmity between Jew and Gentiles. For by Jesus Christ’s crucifixion death God has ended the law of separation that kept us inherently apart (Col. 2:13-14) which the Temple made with human hands epitomized and strictly enforced. And thus with Christ’s resurrection, then ascension back to God the Father in heaven, and then the Holy Spirit’s outpouring as Jesus promised into every believing person’s life; whether Jew or Gentile. God begins personally fulfilling His eternal plans for us all who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ to be with Him forever, by His living in us. And thus we are His building built by God as a new holy and undefiled Temple and covenant people of God bound to Him through His Spirit because of Jesus’ broken body and shed blood for us all. That is where God’s Glory and Presence now resides, not in Cathedral’s, not in local church buildings, music halls, sports stadiums and or hockey arena’s during Christian services, rallies, concerts, crusades and any other Christian functions, but within every believing person’s heart, soul and mind. That is where God is to be experienced and found. For that is how God now manifests His Person, Presence and Power on the earth, through Believers lives and witness. Looking for God then is as simple as believing in His Son. All you need and will ever need is right there. “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.” Col. 2:9-10
And thus there are from God now no ceremonial rituals and laws to keep, no special days and fasts to observe to find God’s acceptance. Nor do you have to feign moral sinlessness in order to find God’s favor (Please read Luke 18). If you’re real about yourself and your need for Jesus Christ there is no sin that God has not already forgiven you through Jesus Christ’s cross. And thus repentance is largely just that, turning ones heart from their sin to God, who has already atoned for it, and whose Spirit affects our change, because of Christ's cross and our faith in Jesus. And thus rebirth takes place and regeneration begins in our lives all as a work of God which has a destiny that ends in heaven with God.

Again because of Jesus Christ's being crucified for us all there are no religious hoops to jump through. No fasts and special days to observe. No ceremonial rituals to perform or laws to keep. Jesus Christ has ushered in a new and holy way to God for us all. That is why the Book of Revelation closes out with this exhortation from both the Spirit and the bride, who is Christ’s church redeemed by His precious blood and saved by the grace and work of God alone, inviting everyone to come to Jesus and experience new and everlasting life. 17 And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely. Rev. 22:17

Have you done that? Have you come to Jesus Christ and received Him as your Lord and Savior? For He is the only Person who can alleviate your loneliness and fill that emptiness inside, or take away that terrible guilt and shame burden that you have carried for so long and try to escape from through..., or heal your broken and wounded heart because of... Jesus invites us all, at anytime and anyplace in our lives, to come to Him and receive from Him new and everlasting life, all by faith in His Person. If you would like to do that why not pray this prayer, which is not a magical formula for salvation, it is just a way to invite Jesus Christ into your heart and life.

Dear Lord Jesus I know that I need You, I have sinned and I can’t make it without You, I believe You died for me and rose from the dead so that I could be forgiven and have new and everlasting life through You. I now invite You into my heart and life to be my Lord and Savior, amen.

If you have prayed this prayer or a prayer of your own inviting Jesus Christ into your heart and life I’d love to hear from you, just leave a comment and I’d be overjoyed to pray for you and or contact you if you like. And wherever you are currently at I’d just like to wish you a merry Christmas and God’s peace and blessings for the season and upcoming year. This will be the last devotional until after December 25 since I’m going to be celebrating the holidays, as I hope you are as well, and I’ve got a couple of dogs to take care of too. So I hope you have a wonderful holiday season and I hope that God’s grace and peace finds you and keeps you all. God bless. Tom

Scripture Quotations
The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

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