Focusing on What Matters

Posted on February 29, 2012

One day as Jesus was leaving the temple his disciples pointed out the grandeur of the temple buildings.

Mark 13:1-2

1 As Jesus was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!” 2 “Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”

The temple truly was a sight to see. The historian Josephus said that some of the stones were as large as 37 feet by 12 feet by 18 feet. He also said that everything was either pure white or overlaid in gold. Herod himself gave a vine made of gold for decoration that was so large that the grape clusters were the height of a grown man. Despite the splendor of the building Jesus warned his disciples that eventually it would all be gone and no stone would be on top of another. This literally came true in 70 A.D. when the Romans destroyed the temple, even prying the stones apart to get to any gold leaf that had melted down between them from the roof when the temple was set on fire.

As believers we need to be cautious about where we put our faith. Buildings and finances and other material items can help us in our ministry but what really counts are the things of eternity. When Jesus came to this earth some were disappointed that he did not try to conquer earthly kingdoms such as the Romans. But Jesus’ purpose was to conquer something eternal, death and souls that were separated from God. I love the cafe we have in the church where students can come and hang out but more important are the conversations we have with those teenagers when we are sitting in the booths together. As we move forward in ministry lets be thankful for the tools we’ve been given to use but lets never forget that all of this will pass away and what’s really important are the lives we touch and the bonds we create.

-Pastor Robert Brody

4 Responses to “Focusing on What Matters”

  1. Chris Peris
    Feb 29, 2012

    I always like to read more than just one verse, what events were happening? What preceeded the statement, or lead up to this statement? What happened next?

    In this particular verse, Jesus had about enough of the Pharisee’s and there lies, misrepresentations, backstabbling, and downright cantankerousness! They tried to trap him, said his power came from the devil, began plotting to kill him, and tried to arrest him. (Mark 3 thru 12) It’s no wonder the disciples marveling at the building (Temple) struck a nerve with Jesus. Was this a statement against having nice buildings, or more a frustration at the wicked institution Jesus just encountered?

    Look at what happened next. The disciples asked when these things will happen? Jesus began to describe the last days.

    I don’t think this is so much a warning against nice buildings, but more a warning of what would happen if the wrong motives crept into a church, see more examples of this in the warning to the seven churches in Revelations.

  2. Chris Peris
    Feb 29, 2012

    The more I thought about this, I am reminded how opulant God’s original plan was for the the 1st Temple! The gold, the jewel’s the craftsmanship that was commanded for the 1st Temple is nothing short of impressive by man’s standards.

    What destroyed that temple was really wrong motives creeping into the Isrealite’s attitudes over a long time. God’s 1st covenant or plan was for blessings for his people, and we mess that up with doubt, fear, unbelief, and wrong motives.

    Then the 2nd temple was built with similar opulant construction, and again, it was destroyed by the Pharisee’s and the peoples wrong motives, doubt, unbelief, and fear.

    Look at the warnings to the seven churches in Revelations, same thing would, or could remove their lampstands.

    What does that mean for Pequea? We are a prosperous church well blessed by God, even in tough economic times and our lamp shines bright. Let’s continue to be couragous and do what Jesus commanded us to do, “Go spread the Good News of salvation to the world”.

  3. Robert Brody
    Feb 29, 2012

    I totally agree, I think you’ve put the passage in the right context. And I didn’t mean to make it sound like an attack on the building. I think when God blesses us with good facilities we should make sure that we present them with excellence, but just make sure they don’t become the focal point. Like many things it’s a tool that be be used for good or bad depending on the heart of the person. I personally need to remember that in youth ministry as I upgrade our tech and put in new features that those things should enhance ministry but not distract from my primary purpose. Thanks for the good words!

  4. Chris Peris
    Feb 29, 2012

    Funny thing is I was thinking of the “Crystal Palace” that is now apparently for sale. That may well be God’s method of destruction for a church who lost it’s lampstand due to wrong motives.

    We totally agree and my example of wrong motives coincides with your warning about how we view our facility.

    We are truely blessed and for that I am thankful. These materials things are assets we use in trust from God. That trust is important and we use these assests to glorify Him and bringing others to salvation is the method we use to glorify Him.

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