In Matthew 24, there are a couple of things going on. Jesus answers what the end of time will be like to His disciples. He tells of wars, earthquakes, and then a desolation that is so bad, it causes people to flee the cities for their lives. People will talk about how they have found this secret savior here and there, but Jesus says you can ignore it, because when He comes back, EVERYONE will see and know. And He IS coming back for those He loves. That’s beautiful news, and truly, that is what this chapter is all about.
But today, as I read it, I noticed that the whole thing is prompted by Jesus saying that the Temple would be destroyed. He was right, it was torn down in 70 AD. But what about it? Why does it matter? The Temple was where God lived, in many people’s minds. It’s where He met with them. Why was it no longer important? Because Jesus came and met with us in an even better way. The Temple was obsolete. Unnecessary. Outdated. But they held onto it for another 40 years, hoping to see God again. They never did. They missed Him completely.
So, with this promise of Jesus coming back, what is it that we hold onto and hope to see God in, when He has already moved on? You see, often God works in a certain way in our life (speaks to us through a book, a relationship, a trip, a place, etc.) and we want to keep going back to it to recreate what happened there. It’s comfortable. It’s known. It’s safe, and we have a sense of control. But God always moves forward, to better plans. We are called to be a people who live today, looking towards tomorrow. We aren’t to live in what God did yesterday. Remember it? Sure. Be grateful? Of course. Learn from it? We’d better. But if we are trying to regain the happiness of days past, we are missing the beauty of God’s work here and now. It’s time to leave the old buildings behind, Jesus is here in person today. And time is quickly running out.