For an introduction to this series, click here.
Jan. 30, 2007
First of all, Mark records that Peter, James, John and Andrew asked Jesus about the end of the age and the beginning of the kingdom. We can infer from Matthew's version that all the disciples heard it. This must mean that these four were together to ask Jesus their question, but then Jesus addressed His answer to all the disciples.
But before that, we should mention the fact that the disciples were awestruck at Herod's temple. This temple was huge, much larger than Solomon's. It did not have the amazing decorations or all the gold that Solomon's temple had, but it made up for its lack of those things in sheer size. Any picture you see of Jerusalem, you can always the the Dome of the Rock, the Muslim shrine on the temple mount. It is built on the foundation of Herod's Temple. That building does not cover the whole area that Herod's temple did, plus Herod's temple was taller. Jesus was not impressed. He said, "Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down." (13:3, ESV) We are impressed by buildings, but the Lord is more concerned with our hearts than with any physical structure.
The main point of this passage was to tell the disciples that Jesus was not going to set up His kingdom yet. The disciples were still looking for Jesus to set up His kingdom, perhaps within the next few days, while all of Israel was in Jerusalem for the Passover. But Jesus said He was going away, and there will be many distractions and hardships along the way: persecution, false Christs, wars and famines, and so on. The disciples still did not get the message, but this was an important message: so important that three Gospel writers included it in some form or fashion.