World English Bible translation
13:1As he went out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, "Teacher, see what kind of stones and what kind of buildings!"
13:2Jesus said to him, "Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone on another, which will not be thrown down."
Jesus had entered the city of Jerusalem in triumph. The people had cheered His entry into the city and shouted praises to God in His name. The next morning Jesus had cleared the temple area of the moneychangers and the merchants. But these things had only exacerbated the situation between Jesus and the religious leaders of Jerusalem. They began to question him and try to trick Him into making blasphemous or treasonous statements. But Jesus confounded them at every turn by seeing through their trick questions. In each situation Jesus turned the interrogation back on the questioners and showed them the underlying error in their doubts and questions.
Jesus had seen the poor widow give everything that she had to the temple treasury and He had praised her for it. As He and the disciples were sitting in the temple, the disciples marveled at the beauty and the grandeur of the temple. This was Herod's temple that had been built at great expense to solidify Herod's grip on the country. The temple was the only reason that some religious leaders supported the Herodians. It was a beautiful structure that was worthy of any capitol city.
But Jesus told the disciples that these structures were only temporary. "Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone on another, which will not be thrown down." And the Romans destroyed the temple in A.D. 70. Jesus was probably talking about this event, but more to the point He was trying to tell the disciples that the things of this world are only temporary. Even the things that seem permanent. This is the same point that Jesus has been trying to make ever since He came into Jerusalem. He told the Pharisees to give to Caesar the things that were Caesar's and to give to God the things that are God's. He had told the scribe that the greatest commandment was to love God with all of your hearts, soul and mind and to love your neighbor as yourself.
In each of these stories Jesus is contrasting the world of Jerusalem at feast time with the eternal Kingdom of God. Jesus was trying to tell the disciples and anyone who would listen that there was a higher reality. There was the world around them and there was the world that God was creating all around them. Jesus was trying to show them that the Kingdom of God was more important than the world around them. The Kingdom of God would last longer than the great stones of the temple and longer than the power of the religious authorities. The Kingdom of God will go on when everything in the world has fallen down.
Look around you and see what will be gone soon. Look around you and see what will last forever. What are you spending your time on these days? Will the things that you are working to achieve be around for very long?
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