Matthew 24:1Jesus 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; everyone will be thrown down.”
3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.
9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
This is supposed to be a much longer reading this morning. I decided to stop at verse 14 and pick it up tomorrow from there.
Let me set the scene.... Jesus has just been arguing with those ignorant, self-centered moronic Pharisees and Sadducees. He's angry over the murder of His cousin, John the Baptist and the inaction of the temple over the murder of such a good man. He's angry because the venders who were allowed to set up in the Temple Courts, were ripping people off. He's already pissed the Pharisees and Sadducees off by ransacking the court where the venders had their tables. He also had the nerve to return and start teaching.... and the Pharisees would have no part of that. Jesus had just been run out of His own Home!
If the Pharisees and Sadducees, priests, preachers, elders, and teachers of the law were willing to argue with Jesus and throw Him out, then what respect would they give someone like Billy Graham or you or me? Jesus knew all this and told His Disciples it was only going to get worse.
These verses tell us that the Temple was in total decay even though it was still very beautiful to look at. Here's how that conversation about the beauty of the Temple might go in today's lingo.
Disciple "But those buildings are awesome. The people who built the Temple must have really loved God."
Jesus "You can't see it yet, but those buildings are falling apart. It won't be long before they will become a pile of rock for something else to be built upon.
Disciple "But look at how beautiful it is in the sun's rays"
Jesus "Pile of rocks"
Jesus was under no delusion that things were going to be perfect on earth. He knew things would get worse before they got better. He knew money grubbing fakes would lie to huge auditoriums of humans and feed them dented gospel. He was not here to fix that. He was not here to repair the Temple. He'll come back for all that.
Jesus was here on a mission to conquer death.... the death brought on when Satan [serpent] partied with Adam and Eve in the Garden.
We are going to see more earthquakes and famine.... it's labor pains. Women know that labor pains have a mind of their own. They only stop when the job is done. There are fake labor pains.... they feel like the real thing but they aren't persistent. Labor pains don't stop until the job is done.
If we just hang on.... stay in the Word.... it'll all work out. You'll see... but only if you stay in the Word. You have to stay on task until the Mission is complete.
I am reminded of a doctor in the ER after a mass shooting.... doing triage.
Pile of rocks.... hang in there.