The Passion of Christ in the Gospel of Luke
A Guide to Meditation and Prayer
Week 3 - Day 4
All Human Achievements Fail
The Destruction of the Temple
Meditation on Scripture- Read Luke 21:5-9 and write your reflections in the workbook. Use the summary below for further reflection on the passage. Prayer- Use the Guide for Prayer.
The temple in Jesus’ day was a marvel to behold. It may have been the most magnificent structure in the world at that time. Herod the Great, who ruled from 37 B.C. until 4 A.D., saw his various building projects as his lasting legacy. The greatest of all his projects was the temple in Jerusalem. He had rebuilt and expanded the temple built by the exiles who returned from Babylonia, into a large expansive structure and court area. All those who saw it marveled, particularly at the size of the stones used in it, some of which weighed over 50 tons. This comment by Jesus was elicited by conversation among the disciples about the size and magnificence of the temple’s stones.
As said previously, Roman General Titus, besieged and destroyed the city and the temple in 70 A.D., only about 40 years after Jesus spoke these words. So startling was the possibility of such a grand structure being destroyed that the disciples wanted to know more. Jesus’ comments in this and the following sections seem to be general comments about the future, not ones solely related to the destruction of the temple.
In addition to a prediction about the temple, Jesus says that others will come claiming to be the Messiah, or a Savior, or a special messenger from God. The disciples should not be deceived or chase after them. There will also be many disturbances among nations, wars and rumors of wars. These are not necessarily signs of the end, but troubles that must take place before it.
Jesus’ words about the temple remind us that human buildings, structures, and achievements do not last. Herod’s great temple, which must have seemed indestructible to those who marveled at it, would not last one hundred years. Time and troubles destroy and degrade all human achievements and edifices. We should not make monuments to ourselves in this life but seek to lay up treasure in the place where moths do not corrupt, thieves do not break in to steal, and time does not destroy.
Things to Consider –
· It is easy to want to leave a legacy of things but it is better to leave a legacy of faith, love, hope, and good works. What kind of legacy are you leaving at the moment?
· For whom would you like to leave a legacy? What is the legacy you have left for them so far? If you died today, how would people remember you, especially the people closest to you?
· No civilization has endured forever. Historian Will Durant once said that all civilizations perish by excess of their basic principles. In what ways do you think our civilization is decaying and losing its way?
· Can you think of people who have started new religions? What do you think Jesus would say about them? Are you tempted to follow or believe in any of them? If so, remember what Jesus said.
· What have been the wars and tumults in your lifetime?
· Why do you think wars persist? Do you think they will increase or decrease?
Guide for Prayer –
· Close your eyes and take one full minute to calm your mind and gather your spirit.
· Thank God for the peace we experience at the present time in our country. Thank God that we are not engaged in a world war, as the 20thcentury twice experienced.
· Thank God for the house or apartment in which you and your family now live. Thank God that it provides you shelter and protection. Thank God that you have food to eat and clothes to wear.
· Pray for those in your community who do not have stable and permanent housing.
· Pray for those close to you by name. Ask God to help you leave a legacy for them of faith, kindness, courage, and love. Ask God what is one thing you can do to help build that legacy this week.
· Think of one place in the world where there is war, violence, hatred, and difficulty. Pray for Christ’s peace to descend on that place. Especially pray for Christians in that area.
· Think about one thing that makes you afraid about the future. Place your trust in Christ and hear his words, “do not be terrified.”
· Pray for righteousness in our country. Pray for faith, morality, love, and kindness. Ask God’s forgiveness for our sins and that he would send a revival of faith to our nation.
· Take some moments to offer your own prayers to God. Offer whatever prayers and praises seem appropriate.