1 As he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what large stones and what large buildings!” 2 Then Jesus asked him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.” 3 When he was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked him privately, 4 “Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign that all these things are about to be accomplished?” 5 Then Jesus began to say to them, “Beware that no one leads you astray. 6 Many will come in my name and say, “I am he!’ and they will lead many astray. 7 When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed; this must take place, but the end is still to come. 8 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. This is but the beginning of the birth pangs. [NRSV]
What is God Building right now?
Some buildings become architectural wonders based on the grand scale of the building, the materials used in the construction and in the significance of the buildings purpose.
Jesus and the disciples are leaving the temp,le complex which was a trifecta of scale, resource and purpose. Herod’s temple complex was a collection of engineering marvels. Still visible and functioning 2000 years later are his “Ashlar” stones (building blocks/Legos). Foundation Amal course are 80 tons each and approximately 40’x8′ in size.
These are certainly the type of stones the disciples were referencing with Jesus at the temple. Jesus makes a matter-of-fact-statement about these mighty stones. Everyone will be over turned.
This small remark carries a timeless affirmation of God and struggle of humanity. No matter how much labor, ingenuity, time and craftsmanship that which is built by human hands will always also be just as corruptible as human beings.
The Good News
So what does it mean for God to put on corruptible clothes in the for and life of Jesus to reach out to us.
The temple complex included temple, palace, theater, that was double the size of King Solomon’s and there was no building complex in Rome any greater nor more lavish. Herod want Cesare to be at home when visiting the outer edge of the empire.
The instruction for disciples is to guard against those who falsely represent Jesus by placing God’s “hologram of authenticity” on their teaching.
The Core Four
Peter, James and John take Jesus aside and ask for some clear teaching
Explain this to me… For what are we preparing?
The disciples ask for a sign? What the date? When will this happen? In our life time? This week? Tonight?
Wars and terrible storms will be signs but they are only the beginning of the terrible.
The problem with “THE SIGN” as there have been wars, earthquakes and disasters of all kinds in every year…
I think Jesus’s warning in the text is much less helpful for those who want to put his return on the calendar. It is more obvious a statement without the mystery some would want to add.
When we see wars and disasters it is evidence that we living in a broken world. The sign are only the earliest signs of God’s timing.
So what do we make of the events of Paris?
- It is a horrible evidence that evil is given more power than it should have.
- To say that we pray for people who are victims of evil acts we not only suffer with them we also pledge to protect, defend and stop evil with good.
- How long? The same question asked about the disciples then is ask again today.
- God will not allow evil to forever.
- God calls disciples to do the loving thing.
- What is loving mean in the realities of evil…
- Something has been born as is in a process of growing, struggling and maturing.
Allow God to do the building
Don’t rework the plan in your own image
Gods people prepare for God. Period.
God the architect and Jesus the carpenter are vocations that focus on structures.
What is God working to build these days?
When you hear about wars and threats f war, what does God want built?
When nations and politic fight amount themselves
When false teachers and persuasive leaders misguide their subjects