“Then Jesus asked him, ‘Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.'” (Mark 13:2)
Jesus has been teaching in the temple, and the last thing he does in the temple precinct is to praise the faith of a poor widow, who, in her poverty, put all that she had into the temple treasury (Mark 12:41–44).
As Jesus and his disciples leave the temple, one of his disciples points out to Jesus the magnificence of the temple stones and buildings. Maybe this disciple thought that Jesus would agree with him — after all, he had just praised the widow for her faithful contribution to the temple. But instead, Jesus says, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.”
Jesus’ response is helpful for us to hear as we live as his disciples here and now. As God’s people, we contribute to things, including the church buildings where we meet to receive God’s word and sacraments, which will not last. No matter how precious our church buildings are to us or how many memories we have connected with them, we know they will one day cease to exist. Maybe you have already experienced this reality in your life — that the church you worshipped in as a child is no longer.
But we do not need to be despondent about this. Jesus, who called the temple his Father’s house, knew that the temple would one day be destroyed. He knows that the things we faithfully contribute to will one day no longer exist. But the word of God we receive as we meet will endure forever. As we put our trust in God’s word, we will never have cause to lose hope.
Jesus, the Word incarnate, was the one who endured to the end. He went to the cross to bear your sins, and he is now raised to the right hand of the Father to pray for you and bring you to the home with God that cannot be destroyed.
Father, I know that all things must end in this world. Grant me Your grace to live as You would have us, to love You and those around us, until the time we can be with You forever. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.