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COMMENTARY
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Gospel according to Matthew
Gospel according to Mark
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Acts of the Apostles
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Die Offenbarung des Johannes

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إنجيل المسيح حسب متى
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1. Jesus Predicts the Destruction of the Temple
(Mark 13:1-4)
1   And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!
2   And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
3   And as he sat upon the mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately,
4   Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?

Jesus went with his apostles to the holy temple, the house of God, the symbol of his presence in the midst of his people, the guarantee of his protection, and the continuity of the nation. The temple was the center of the culture, the place of reconciliation to God, the aim of pilgrimage, and the summary of all blessings.
The stately building seen on the courtyard was the third construction of the temple, which was built two times in the past, and ruined in the course of time. This temple as it existed after the captivity was not such as would satisfy a man as vain and fond of display as Herod the Great who embraced the Jewish religion, and accordingly undertook the task of rebuilding it on a greater scale to conciliate the Jewish nation, but he did not receive love out of it.
In the midst of the construction of this new temple, rites, sacrifices, and prayers were performed. The temple court became a commercial exhibition until Jesus cleansed some of its halls as a symbol of the judgment of God on that people, saying: “My house is a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.”
Having completed all his teaching ministry, seeing that the people of the old covenant did not turn brokenheartedly, and wholly to God, and that the leaders of the people conferred to kill him, the Lord Jesus departed from the temple entirely. By departing the temple, he accomplished the prophecy of Ezekiel of the removing of the glory of the Lord from the temple to the Mount of Olives. Consequently, God’s protection of this nation through his presence ended, and he delivered them to the divine judgment, through the sudden attack of their enemies against them.
When the Lord had departed from the temple, his disciples did not observe the beginning of the new stage of Jesus’ life in the history of the Old Testament. They stood spellbound before the stately structure and golden adorning of it, and felt reverence before God’s greatness in this respected house.
And when one of the disciples asked Jesus about his position toward that shining center of their nation, he got a decisive answer in a deep sermon of Christ, which Mark considered of great importance that he mentioned it as the only sermon of Jesus Christ in his gospel, while the other evangelists gathered many sayings of Jesus Christ. Mark felt that the following words were the most important of all the Lord’s words, which every Christian should keep, understand, and live accordingly.
He who penetrates deeply into Jesus’ first brief answer, thinks that there are many words, which Jesus did not say, but he accompanied his answer with a bitter smile, as if he were about to weep over his disobedient nation and his poor disciples. As if he said: “Ignorant brother, are you still looking at the dead stones, and destructible buildings, without understanding that I am the Temple of God, and in the temple of my body dwells all the fullness of the Godhead practically? The stones and buildings are not important. I am the center of the new culture.
Then he spoke clearly: “Not a single stone here will be left in its place; every one of them will be thrown down.” This statement fell like a thunderbolt on the disciples’ minds in the midst of the dark night, and with an awful silence they gradually recognized that the destruction of this temple meant the end, the imminent judgment, the falling of Jerusalem, and the imminent end of the world. They began to tremble with fear, and their false security founded on the thoughts of the old covenant was soon crushed.
When he had walked with his disciples across the Kedron valley, up to the Mount of Olives, Jesus sat there facing the city. What a beautiful scene! The temple court laid before him, and all were silent. Then four of his disciples, who formed the inner ring, dared to come to him, and one of them asked him about the details of this great mystery of the future: When will the judgment of God come on our nation, now or afterwards? Sooner or later? In our time or in future times? What are the signs of this imminent religious, political, and warlike change? They probably asked how to escape the judgment of God, and how to be saved from the anger of the Most High.Would that the words of Jesus could also create in us deep fear that we might avert our eyes from money, ease, science, and earthly pomp, and turn to the holy God with broken hearts, and humble minds.
The nuclear bombs stored in the arsenals of the big powers are capable of firing and poisoning our globe several times. The end is nearer than we know. Are you prepared to escape God’s anger, or are you like Lot’s wife who turned back to the lustful places in the fire of wrath, and became an idol and symbol of all those who hesitate over their choice between repentance and old life.

 

Prayer:   O holy Lord, you revealed to us the imminent end of the world, and God’s anger proclaimed against men’s dissoluteness and sin. Forgive us our bodily security, and superficial negligence. Grant us active faith in love, and certain hope. Give us your divine insight that we may understand the hidden truths of the future, and give men the last chance to turn before your decided coming. Amen.

 

Question:

76. What is the significance of Jesus’ discourse about the destruction of the temple?

 

 

Table of contents

PREFACE

PART 1
THE PRELIMINARY PERIOD IN THE MINISTRY OF CHRIST
(MATTHEW 1:1 - 4:25)

PART 2
CHRIST TEACHES AND MINISTERS IN GALILEE
(MATTHEW 5:1 - 11:1)

PART 3
THE UNBELIEVING JEWS AND THEIR ENMITY TO JESUS
(MATTHEW 11:2-18:35)

PART 4
JESUS’ MINISTRY IN THE JORDAN VALLEY DURING HIS JOURNEY TO JERUSALEM
(MATTHEW 19:1 - 20:34)

PART 5
JESUS’ LAST MINISTRIES IN JERUSALEM
(MATTHEW 21:1 - 25:46)

PART 6
CHRIST’S SUFFEINGS AND DEATH
(MATTHEW 26:1-27:66)

PART 7
THE RESURRECTION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST
(MATTHEW 28:1-20)

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