Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call attention to the buildings. “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”
The disciples are just like many of us – impressed by the massive structures man has built. It’s easy to look at the outside of things. We get the impression that the grander the work, the closer to God the ministry is. This is far from the case sometimes.
This is what Jesus was trying to relate to His disciples. They thought that these impressive structures were a sign of God’s favor. That may have been the case at one time.
At this time, because of the nation of Israel’s rejection of the Messiah, they were opening themselves up to destructive forces that would someday level these incredible buildings.
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?”
This question shows us incredible insight into the disciples’ thinking process. They liked to get Jesus alone when there were no crowds around to interrupt. That’s when they learned the most. Now, they needed some answers.
Many teachers, when they deal with this verse, explain that the disciples didn’t know what they were saying because they were clearly asking three different questions in one. That statement shows a lack of understanding about what Christ had already taught His disciples. Actually the disciples knew exactly what they were asking.
Throughout Jesus’ ministry He spoke of the end of the age when the righteous would rise to receive their reward. He also talked about the day of His coming, the Day of Christ, when He would reveal Himself to the nations.
The problem the disciples had was that the Lord never related these two events to each other. Were they two different events, or do they happen simultaneously?
To top it all off, now Jesus is talking about the temple being destroyed – something He had never mentioned before – and they wanted to know how it all fit together. They knew exactly what they were asking.
“Lord, You’ve told us about the resurrection. You’ve told us about Your coming, and now You’re telling us about the destruction of Jerusalem. Please, Lord, tie it all together for us. How will we know when these things are about to happen?”
One thing’s for sure – I’m glad they asked. After studying Christ’s teachings, I had the exact same question. I’m even more grateful that Jesus answered the question – in detail.
It’s the Lord’s answers that I will be posting about in this series.
Question: What would you have asked Jesus concerning His return?
© Nick Zaccardi 2014