Summary: Jesus predicts the destruction of the temple - something the Jews revered. We need a ’de-junking session’ in our faith - a good clear out of what is not ultimately lasting
De-junk your faith!
Mk 13: 1-8
House de-junk – programmes on TV
‘Life laundry’; ‘Cash in the attic’; ‘Everything must go’
Life laundry – everything laid out in garden/in a hall
Have to get rid of a certain proportion of ‘junk’
I’m a hoarder! Liz – letters: Sensible sort out!
This am – looking at ‘de-junking’ our faith
Imagine your faith is a bit like a house
Different rooms – some really tidy & sorted out
Everything – beautifully laid out
Some have got lovely pictures in
Some rooms – really proud to show to visitors
What’s like that in your faith?
But there’s also a lot of junk: stuff you never look at
Some rooms like a tip: full of boxes, junk, can’t find anything
Some things you keep hidden away: no-one else knows they are there
Some things of which you’re rather embarrassed
Think of your faith: if ‘Life laundry’ came & laid out all the things that are in your ‘house of faith’, what things would you keep as essential; what things you couldn’t live without?
What things ultimately are junk?
What would you need to get rid of?
Some things might be very precious, even pretty, but they also might be very junk
Clothes: Do we worry about what we should wear to church?
People: We might even have views on what sort of people should be in our churches
Bibles: What if we had none? Lots of Xns throughout the world don’t have access to them. Bible Soc etc.
Particular services (HC): what would it mean for us if we couldn’t have HC every week?
Buildings: What would it mean for us if we didn’t have a building?
Ways of doing things: what if our traditions, ways of doing things, were done away with?
Need to differentiate between the essentials and the junk!
HUMAN structures & systems: temporary
What’s temporary? What couldn’t we cope without in our faith?
Explanation of Temple & history
Buildings – ‘everything will be thrown down’
Temple – most beautiful thing in Jewish minds, was to be destroyed? Surely not!
Decorated with skill, time, energy over many years
‘Time with God’ on Weds: been reading about the specific instructions God gave: measurements, materials, ‘accessories’
Temple had central place in the nation of Israel’s religion and life
Josephus - Temple description – p.308 Barclay
Yet we know that the temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70AD: JC’s prophecy was fulfilled. Scholars are uncertain about whether or not Mark’s gospel was written before, during, or after 70AD. Jesus’ words would have taken on even more power if people were hearing them as the temple was falling.
JC not only predicting that specific downfall - He’s also saying more generally that eventually all human structures and systems fall. It wasn’t just the temple that would be destroyed. Whole structure of the Jewish faith at that time would be changed.
Everything JC had been challenging of the authority & power located in that structure would come apart. We know 2 groups existed within Judaism before the temple’s destruction: Sadducees & Pharisees. However, only the Pharisees survived the changes that accompanied the destruction of the temple. The Sadducees did not.
How do we as Jesus’ disciples, view things like buildings – some of those things we considered earlier - human structures, human systems, human traditions? What would we do if they were removed?
Wars & rumours of wars
Live in a very uncertain world: one that is rapidly changing. Things we once may have considered to be lasting/not under threat, are now under threat, some have been destroyed.
England – Xn country
Other things – buildings, attitudes, see it everywhere
In this uncertain & constantly changing world, JC tells us not to be deceived (v.5). True that in times of change/uncertainty or turmoil, people are more open to being deceived. So does our fear and uncertainty cause us to follow any and all claims of stability and authority? Do we follow anyone? JC tells his followers not to be alarmed and not to allow themselves to be led astray: to trust completely in Him!
This shouldn’t unsettle us though:
Wars & rumours of wars (v.7)– these things must happen
Not going to go away
Chapter goes onto say that actually things will get a lot worse
JC was telling his disciples this when he referred to wars
Pray for peace – means to pray for JC to return
Temporary things are under threat
Birth pains & new life
This chapter of Mark: among the number of passages in the Bible that describe the end of time - full of descriptions of disaster and destruction, of things coming undone. But the time of upheaval/destruction is not only the end but also a beginning. In the final words of this section, Jesus reveals, “This is but the beginning of the birth pains.” (v.8)