October 12, 2020 – Monday
Matthew 24:1-2 NIV
1Jesus 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.”
This is a change of direction for one day on the Verse of the Day. Sunday I taught on these two versesand the following twelve, but today I want to focus on three items from these two verses. First – Jesus’ long day at the temple, second – the destruction of the temple, and third a short discussion of ‘things.’
If we want to understand Jesus’ long day at the temple we have to go back to chapter 21 verse 18 where He is preparing to enter the temple then to the end at verse 46, Next through all 46 verses of chapter 22, and finally onto all 39 verses of chapter 23. We divide all this up into basically 3 chapters (most of chapter 21) and don’t see clearly Jesus spent the whole day in temple in numerous verbal confrontations with the various elements of the Sanhedrin – Pharisees, teachers of the law, Sadducees, and Herodians. Read through them without to get a real sense of what a feat it was and then read in 24:1, Jesus left the temple. And His day was not over as chapters 24 and 25 has Him still yet teaching His disciples.
Next, let’s look at His prophecy when looking at the temple overall, Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down. Most of all know this occurred in 70 A.D. What most us do not know or rather what I did not know was the Roman General Titus and his commanders did not want it to be so. Titus gave orders for the destruction to end and according to Josephus, when there was still time to save the temple Titus ran out and by personal appeals he endeavored to persuade his men to put out the fire, instructing Liberalius, a centurion of his bodyguard of lancers, to club any of the men who disobeyed his orders. But their respect for Caesar and their fear of the centurion’s staff who was trying to check them were overpowered by their rage, their detestation of the Jews, and an utterly uncontrolled lust for battle. The Roman commanding General could not prevent Jesus’ prophecy. Not one stone would be left standing on another! I read through the entire account of this by Josephus, probably taking too long, but here let me suggest you use the link to see just how great the death and destruction of Jerusalem and the temple was.
Finally, I wish to discuss what Jesus called things. When Jesus looked at the temple, big and beautiful, He called the temple and the temple ground things. It was as if He spoke of the temple with some distain because of how so many how came to worship the temple virtually or in actuality. Jesus even pronounced one of His woes against such behavior in 23:16, Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gold of the temple is bound by that oath.’ This harkens back to the Old Testament where a number of times God spoke against hand made idols. A few examples should suffice: Psalm 115:4 Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands; Psalm 135:15 The idols of the heathen are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands; Isaiah 2:8 Their land also is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made. There was nothing wrong with the temple. Nor was there anything wrong with wanting it to be beautiful. The problem was looking at a thing as a form of worship. It is easy to do. It can be a cross we wear, a beautiful Bible we carry, or a beautiful church we attend. None of these matters. In reality, the only thing that matters is having a personal relationship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Why would you believe in God or His Son Jesus? Two words, fulfilled prophecy. Jesus prophesied the destruction of the temple 40 years prior to it happening and it happened in spite of orders of the conquering General. Then we have the admonition throughout the Bible to avoid putting our trust in things. Instead we should be putting our trust in our God.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Almighty God, help us to see always that it is you and your wonderful gift of Grace alone we should be putting our trust in each and every day in every circumstance. In Jesus wonderful name, Amen.