Now while some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and offerings, Jesus said, “As for these things that you are gazing at, the days will come when not one stone will be left on another. All will be torn down!”
So they asked him, “Teacher, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that these things are about to take place?”
He said, “Watch out that you are not misled. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them! And when you hear of wars and rebellions, do not be afraid. For these things must happen first, but the end will not come at once.”
Luke 21:5-9 NET Read More
Jesus was helping the disciples out in three different ways here.
- He’s helping them not put their hope in this big ole temple. Many of the disciples were from small towns, if you could call them towns. They weren’t used to seeing such buildings as Herod’s temple. As magnificent and once-necessary as it was, Jesus didn’t want them to associate the permanence of the temple with the *eternity* of the Kingdom of God. That thing just isn’t going to last as long as the work they are doing.
- He’s prophesying the destruction of the temple. Just over 40 years after His death and resurrection, Jerusalem was under siege and the temple was completely destroyed. It burned so hot that the gold parts melted and ran down through the rocks. Looters wanted the gold, of course, so the whole thing was torn up except for the Western Wall that you can still see today. It was awful and a lot of people were killed. It would have felt like the end of the world was upon them…but.
- The end of the world isn’t coming the way you think it is. That was the other thing Jesus was saying here. They thought the end of the world meant the Messiah would wipe out the Romans and establish a new kingdom on earth. Yeah, that does happen, but a lot of other stuff will be allowed first. God is patient. When He returns and changes the whole world forever, there might not be any just thing as a Roman anymore. As wars and terrible things go on, we long for the end to come, but Jesus is longing for more people to come to believe in Him. He doesn’t have the jurisdiction to bring about the end, though. He submits that, in some cosmic trinitarian way, to the Father. It could be that no man, which Jesus is, can have such power to bring about the end of the world, who knows?
In His encouragement for us to persevere, Jesus prepares us and cautions us. Bad things, even horrible massive events, are bad, but they are not the end of the world. Keep going.