Last summer, my family took a vacation to Washington DC. We had a great time visiting the National Zoo, some of the Smithsonian museums (Natural History was our favorite), and touring the monuments and memorials. Our kiddos were impressed with how big and amazing all the buildings were and especially enjoyed the evening we took a bus tour. There is so much to see and do in Washington DC, and we were only there for one week, so there was a lot that we didn't get to experience. What we had the opportunity to see was impressive; however, they were all things that were made by humans. The verses we are reading today give us a glimpse of a moment when the disciples were in awe of the great city of Jerusalem and Jesus took that opportunity to remind them of more important things. Please read Matthew 24:1-14.
I like the scene that is painted for in the first two verses of Matthew 24 because it reminds us that throughout history we have been impressed with our architecture. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with the ability to design an impressive building, in fact, God gave people the creativity and understanding to design. But we also see in these verses that Jesus used their awe in structure to remind them that God has done and will do even greater things. He used this as an opportunity to remind them that no matter how impressive we design a work of art or building, those things will pass but God will always remain.
The disciples, seizing the teaching moment, asked for understanding of the end times and what signs will be seen. Jesus began telling them the unpleasant things that will be witnessed and reminded them that those were just the beginning of the end. Jesus didn't say how long those things would last or when they would begin to happen; He just told them what to watch for. Awful things like earthquakes, war, and famine would be seen. But Jesus told them those were just the early signs that the end was coming. He warned them of the coming persecution of His followers, and warned them of false prophets claiming to be the Messiah. He said their deception would be so strong that they would even try to deceive those who follow Christ. Yet, with all those warnings He also said that the message of the Gospel would spread throughout the world.
Things will look bleak, but God is still in control and His message will continue to spread. Be encouraged because just as the things that are built with human hands will eventually fall, God's Word will never fail. All the things we know and often take comfort in will pass, but God will always remain. That is where we need to place our hope. Our hope shouldn't be anchored in what we see; we should be rooted in what we cannot see. Hebrews 11:1 (NLT) says, "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see."
Where is your hope?
This post is linked with Soli Deo Gloria.