Summary: Jesus is not impressed with our earthly temples, He seeks our heart.
Sunday Night: Not One Stone
CT: Jesus is not impressed with our earthly temples, He seeks our heart.
FAS: In his book Rust: The Longest War, Jonathan Waldman takes us chapter by chapter into the world of oxidation and the problem of rust. He tells the story of how America almost lost the Statue of Liberty to corrosion, the constant struggle needed to maintain oil pipe lines, the development of stainless steel and rust resistant paint, how aluminum cans are treated to deter oxidation, and of the enormous cost and effort needed to beat back rust in the military—especially the navy's ships.
Rust isn't just annoying; it's expensive and dangerous. But rust happens and we can't stop it. For instance, on August 1, 2007, a bridge spanning the Mississippi in Minnesota suddenly collapsed during the evening rush hour. The bridge, identified as Bridge 9340 in official records, was rated as the second busiest in the entire state, with 140,000 vehicles crossing it every day. One hundred eleven vehicles rode the surface of the bridge down as much as 115 feet to the surface of the water and riverbank, with 13 people killed and 145 injured. A school bus with 63 children returning from a field trip ended up resting on a guardrail at the bottom.
The collapsed bridge over Mississippi had one cause: oxidation. Iron (in the soil and the bridge gussets) reacted chemically with oxygen and the result is a reddish product that eats and destroys that we call rust.
LS: Jesus told us that the same thing would happen to our possessions—as beautiful as they look now, everything we own will be subject to the power of rust.
Let’s go straight to the Bible tonight. As we head toward Easter I am going to work through the gospels and visit parts of the passion narrative. This passage is actually before the passion but Jesus has predicted his death and resurrection three times so far but the disciples are still confused on what he is talking about.
I read from Luke 21.5-6, 5 Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, 6 “As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.”
Wow. What a downer. Jesus just said that the greatest building most revered by all Jews was going to be destroyed with not one stone being left unturned.
Why would Jesus say this?
Let’s look at what Jesus and the disciples were doing right before Jesus made this statement to help us understand.
Luke 21.1-4, 1 As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. 2 He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. 3 “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. 4 All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
This passage gives us an idea of why some of the disciples were talking about how marvelous and magnificent the temple made by their people was. They were probably impressed with all the rich people were putting in the treasury. But Jesus was not impressed with the rich and their gifts; he was seeing the heart of the poor widow.
But the disciples still had to be shocked and maybe even dismayed at what Jesus was saying about the temple. Not one stone left unturned?
Think about what had being going on up until this point. Jesus had been consistently speaking out against the leaders of Judaism and their practices yet at the same time Jesus did respect and follow Jewish law as given in the Scripture (The Scripture being the O.T. since that was all that existed at that point).
Try to put yourself into the shoes (or sandals) of the disciples. They grew up in Judea, they were Jews, they were familiar with the teachings in the synagogues, they still clung to their traditions etc…
It’s all they knew and Jesus on the one hand reaffirmed much of what they were taught, yet Jesus also had new teachings. He pretty much flipped their world at times. He also rebuked much of what they heard from the Rabbi’s. Other than Jesus’ own words what could they depend on? Where could they find stability? What could possibly summarize and/or symbolize their faith as they had known it? They still looked to the temple.
I don’t think we can ever really appreciate how much the temple meant to the Jews and therefore the disciples.