As Jesus was leaving the Temple that day, one of his disciples said, "Teacher, look at these tremendous buildings! Look at the massive stones in the walls!" Jesus replied, "These magnificent buildings will be so completely demolished that not one stone will be left on top of another" (Mark 13:1-2).
Herod’s Temple was one of the Wonders of the World in its day. In the time of Christ, they had been building it for 46 years (John 2:20), and as Christ was talking, the building was still not completed. The Jewish people were very proud of Herod’s Temple; it was one of the ways that Herod was trying to win his way into the Jewish people’s heart, even though he lived an ungodly life. I have lived in Jerusalem for more than a year and a half of my life and many times have walked upon the Temple Mount and reflected on the fact that every stone was thrown down just as Christ prophesied. It was destroyed in 70 A.D. by the Roman General Titus. Josephus, the historian, speaks of more than a million Jews who were killed while the Romans set fire to the Temple. The gold of the Temple melted into the cracks between the bricks, so every stone was separated, looting the gold and throwing the large magnificent stones from the Temple Mount.
When Jesus talked to the Samaritan woman in John 4, the big issue to her was whether or not she should worship at the temple in Samaria or the one in Jerusalem. Jesus said,
"Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem… the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth” (John 4:21-23). What was the Lord saying?
God is not as interested in buildings as us. He is more concerned with the temple of the heart. Paul the Apostle wrote about this when he said: "Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?" (1 Corinthians 6:19). It seems to me like he was writing something that was 101 fundamental Christianity to the Church in Corinth using the words "Don't you know" to remind them.
Isn’t it easy to get sidetracked into building what can be seen by men rather than what is seen by God? I notice that the first Temple was called Solomon’s Temple, the second being Herod’s Temple. Maybe that is why God allowed the magnificent structure of the Temple buildings to be destroyed. The buildings were about what men had built. At the end of my life, I don't want to be disappointed by what I have made with my time, energy, and money, and I don't want you to be disappointed either. Jesus said that we were to not “let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:2-3). Is it about me? Does it have my name on it? Why am I building it? Is my labor truly glorifying to the Lord or is it seeking to bring glory to me? Is it magnificent to men but lacks value to God?
The things we build here on earth may be magnificent for a time but have little lasting value. The things that last are issues of the heart and character. I am convinced that many of you will be significantly rewarded for things that man has not recognized, but God alone has seen.
Prayer: Holy Father, please don't let us get sidetracked into investing in things of this world; we want to build something glorifying to you. Keith Thomas