“And Jesus said to him, ‘Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left upon another which will not be torn down’” (Mark 13:2).
Scholars as well as students of the Bible allure the above passage to the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70 during the reign of Titus, the emperor of Rome. While there is no debating it, since the temple was literally torn down at that time, speaking of its destruction alone gives tangential value to Jesus and to what He really means. If we are more informational and knowledge oriented, we certainly do not give complete credit to the above teaching of Jesus. He knows all things and perhaps have intentionally foretold of the temple’s destruction. But, there is something more to what He said.
When we observe verse 1, we understand where the heart and mind of that disciple is. They are on the wonderful stones and buildings. That disciple’s view might be shared by others (Matt. 24:1). Nevertheless, it is not what Jesus came for or desired from them. He is always spiritual. They thought their depiction of the temple would earn them positive remarks from Him. They assumed it from the event where Jesus drove out the merchants from the temple. It gave them the impression that Jesus desired the temple buildings and stones. It further made them think He would establish a literal kingdom on the earth. However, at the right time Jesus thwarted their thinking; he quickly shifted their focus from earthly things and did not give provision for pride to sink into them. He opined not to set their heart on the earthly glories. As it is the temple was destroyed in A.D. 70. What would have happened if Jesus did not correct them? It would be utter disappointment and vanity both to them and to all that came after them; gospel would’ve become redundant.
Understanding Jesus is not disappointment and vanity when we do not put ourselves for earthly things. People striving and even warring for the things seen and that glorify them in the flesh live life under disappointment and in vain; the fear of loss and defeat constantly pursue them. We often see church-goers, preachers and pastors putting more emphasis on the quality of the buildings than on the quality of the church itself. They cite various reasons for the necessity of those buildings and when vying to accomplish them transgress the will and commands of God. This is detrimental, since in such cases, it is impossible to be with Christ, the complete blessing of God. Earthly wonders do astonish us and it is not wrong to admire them. Nevertheless, there should be a clear line between admiring them and adoring them. Or else, we could fall in the danger of misunderstanding Christ on a greater level. Then, we’ll miss Him at various levels.
There is nothing wrong in having a nice building to worship in provided we do not hurt God in the process of acquiring it. Even such will one day be brought down. And understanding Jesus on a higher level will not leave room for our entrapment by the things seen or present. The disciples that lived after A.D. 70 and the believers who understood Jesus through them sure were not baffled at the destruction of the temple.