Monday, November 12, 2007

The Temple's Coming Down Luke 21:5-19

Reading Luke 21 this week is a reminder that context is everything Luke. Jesus and his friends were walking along side the temple in Jerusalem. The temple was the heart of Jerusalem. Jews came from far and near to worship God offering their sacrifices and prayers. Jesus and his disciples were Jews and they had a place in the temple and its worship life. They were welcome in the temple's outer courts to meet with others who came to talk about God's word and their faith. They would have been welcome with the others who came to offer appropriate sacrifices to fulfill the law.

But there is another context to this reading the context of time. This was the week of Jesus death. In one week Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on an ass celebrated by the crowds. In that same week he entered the temple with a whip in hand and on Friday he went to Galgatha carrying the cross where he would die. He was teaching boldly and soon that teaching would lead to his death. The plot to kill him was fast taking shape. Judas would soon betray him.

Reading Luke 21 we listen as Luke retells Jesus teaching outside the temple. Jesus'
friend spoke in admiration of the temple. Jesus responded prophetically with words of discomfort. "Not one stone will remain upon another." And then the prophecy turned darker still. Not only would the temple fall; even these men would be subject to great danger for holding fast to their faith.

The temptation's always present for Jesus' followers to minimize the danger that we may face following him. The temptation is ever present. It tempts us to make Christianity into a religion of public morality rather than a radical belief in the transformative power of God. The temptation is to just be nice and to just get along; but Jesus came not to be nice but to see the world transformed in all places. He came knowing that we would see the temple crumble. He came knowing that everything we hold firm to can crumble and offering us hope in the middle of our fall. He came with a promise that in him all could be brought closer to God.

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