God is in control
As Jesus was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!”
“Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; everyone will be thrown down.”
As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked him privately, “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?” – Mark 13: 1-8
Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.”
The things of this world do not last forever. They serve their duration and then pass away. The same thing happens to us humans; we are here and then we pass away like the grass. Therefore, we should seek the things of God rather than the things of man.
In the text, Jesus and his disciples were walking past the temple in Jerusalem, which was known as Herod’s temple. This temple was a marvelous structure, which reportedly took some 80 years to build.
The east wall of the temple was plated with gold to reflect the rays of the rising sun. As Jesus and his disciples passed the temple, the disciples complimented the magnificence of the building.
However, Jesus dismissed the physical beauty of that structure. He suggested that it did not have permanency nor did it meet the needs for which it was built. Years later, 70 AD the Romans completely destroyed it.
A little later on, while Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples requested that Jesus tell them about the last days or the end times. Jesus’s response was “Be on your guard.”
When Jesus tells us to be on guard, he is telling us to be vigilant against our enemy, the devil. The devil is a type of salesman who comes with empty hands and makes promises which he cannot deliver. He is an expert deceiver. You will not find a better salesman than the devil.
Many times, a salesman sells dreams. Because people are gullible, they eat up what the salesman tells them. I have known of people who have bought dreams of swamp land, the boundaries of which can only be determined by trees on the property.
False prophets and teachers are like salesmen, commonly referred to as snake oil salesman during the western pioneering area, in the United States. These snake oil salesmen sold medication that was supposed to cure everything, but in reality, cured nothing.
Jesus tells us to be on guard because people calling themselves servants of God will seek to deceive us. Many of them stay up quite late in the night studying the Scriptures to determine the exact moment of Jesus’ return. However, Jesus tells us that only God has that information.
No one living or dead has any knowledge of the exact return of our Lord. Therefore, be on guard against those who will try to deceive you and pervert God’s word.
They will try to place all kinds of interpretations on God’s word for their own selfish purpose. God’s word cannot change. Unlike the transient temple mentioned in the text, God’s word is permanent. It is everlasting.
The things of this world are not permanent. God’s word is. Be on guard, do not let anyone sidetrack you. Even though the church may seem to be going through difficult times, especially as evil forces seem to be taking a foot hold, God is in control. No one can prevail against him and his church.
• Rev. Samuel M. Boodle, pastor at The Lutheran Church of Nassau, can be reached at P.O. Box N 4794, Nassau, Bahamas, or telephone: 323-4107; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Website: www.Nassaulutheranchurch.org.