As Jesus was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!”
2 “Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”
At this point in my life, I think the church places way too much focus on buildings. If I was starting a new church plant I would almost certainly rent some empty business space, do a little remodeling and spend a lot more of the church’s resources on ministry, especially ministry to the poor. Jesus is not necessarily anti-building, but He is more into building God’s Kingdom and building up people. The world is rapidly changing and the church is being refined by fire. There is only one option for the church to continue to thrive: become organic. We are comfortable with the present paradigm (buildings, budgets and bureaucracy), but we must be committed to the knowledge that the end of this paradigm would not mean the end of the church. God used Paul to build the church through what I like to call guerrilla ministry. The battle plan was simply for small groups of believers to share their faith and the love of Christ. No buildings. No budgets. It was church as an organism instead of an organization.
Back to the story at hand. It is almost funny that, after 3 years of living with Jesus and seeing amazing things, the disciple who commented on the temple architecture thought Jesus would be impressed. Reminder: the temple was not even God’s idea – it was David’s idea. God gave the Israelites the plans for the Tabernacle – a mobile worship center (tent).
There is something much more important that Jesus was saying with His pronouncement of the temple’s destruction. Jesus was saying that all the things built by man would come to an end. The temple was symbolic of man’s efforts to earn God’s favor. Now, the only way to be reconciled to God was through faith in Christ His Son. Religion would come to an end and everything was going to be purified by fire. It is all going away and ultimately the only thing that will matter is the relationship that true worshipers have with the one true God.