Today’s Reading is Matthew 24
To this point in the book of Matthew, the writings have been telling the story of Jesus life and ministry. In Matthew 24 Jesus changes and talks to His friends about the future, more of a prophetic conversation than the practical ones they had been used to. So we start out with Jesus and His friends on the Temple grounds. (I needed some help here deciphering the meaning and the purpose of this writing so I consulted Matthew Henry’s Commentary) As they are leaving the Temple, His friends are pointing out buildings and trying to get Jesus to look at the beauty of the structures and the fact that no cost was spared in its construction or decoration. They are proud of what they feel like was built for Him and want Him to comment on the good work that has been accomplished over the years in His honor. They are excited to get to “show Him around” and He says, “Do you see all these buildings? They will be demolished, not one stone will be left on top of another”. Can you imagine how deflated they must have felt? You mean to tell me that all of this work, beauty and cost is for nothing…we did this for you and you tell us it will all be ruined?
I can relate to Jesus friends hearts more than I like to admit. I miss Jesus so often in my life because I am excited about something new I am getting, an adventure I am planning to take, or I want to show someone I love something I’ve accomplished. I am proud of something I have done and too often I want others to see. The thing is, that I am missing Jesus because I like to make things about me. I want to take credit for the things I have acquired or the ideas I have come up with. The truth is that my stuff and my ideas are less than specks of dust, dirty rags… nothing compared to Jesus. Furthermore, none of “my things” or “ideas” are mine. All I am and all I have is gifted by God. I cannot fill my lungs with air for my next breath without God. How can I get so wrapped up in “stuff” that I miss Him?
So Jesus takes them away from the Temple to a place that is more private and quiet to turn their hearts and minds from their agendas to Him… to tell them His purpose and what is coming, what to expect. The Temple is Him, He will be destroyed, He will be gone from this earth and they will need to continue to tell people all over the world about Him in His absence. It will be hard. Others will claim to be the Messiah, there will be wars, famines and earthquakes. They will be arrested, persecuted and killed, and sin will be rampant in the world. But one day, Jesus will appear in the heavens, coming on the clouds with power and great glory. With the mighty blast of a trumpet, Jesus will gather His chosen ones from all over the world-from the farthest ends of the earth and Heaven.
I want less of my focus to be on me and my stuff. I want to be grateful to Him for what He has gifted me so I can be ready when He comes for me.