Sunday 14 November 2010

Bible Book:

"When some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, he said 'As for these things that you see, the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down'" (vv. 5-6)

Luke 21:5-19 Sunday 14 November 2010


This is a difficult passage. The language is filled with fearfulimages of a dreadful future of both natural and human createddisasters. It is set within Luke's passion narrative, of the trialand crucifixion of Jesus the Christ.

It helps to notice that Luke's vision of the future has atheological purpose as much as a predictive one. It is not so muchthat he is acting as a forecaster of what is to be, but offering anexplanation as to why such disasters occur, and a challenge as towhat we can do about them.

Two possible ways are offered:

  • On the one hand, there is the temple. It is beautiful andmassive: its stones huge and immovable, its walls adorned by thegifts of grateful people. Such gifts are evidence of thefaithfulness of God, and the grounding for a people's future hope.However, this temple will be destroyed. These certaintiesundermined. Hope itself will be replaced by despair. Even thetestimony of the gift givers will be called into question. Thethings we rely on and take for granted (eg successful harvests, therule of Rome, the ground itself will be no more).
  • On the other hand, there is a name: the name of Jesus who isthe Christ (ie the chosen or anointed one). The name is notbeautiful, massive or as yet adorned with the testimony of theyears. However, it is the basis of hope in the future. Indeed, itis the rejection of Christ that is presented by Luke as theexplanation for the overthrow of the old certainties. Thishorrifying future is in the context of a passion narrative ofbetrayal, trial, humiliation, and crucifixion. Rejection of theMessiah leads to destruction but faithfulness to the name of Christis life.

It is faithfulness to that name that will become the newsecurity. A fragile name contrasted with massive stones; adisfigured man to the beauty of a temple.


To Ponder

In the light of today (Remembrance Sunday), whatare the securities in life that we take for granted?

How far do we put our faith in massivecertainties and not in the fragility of Jesus' way of love?

What does putting trust in the Messiah mean toyou?

And pray
For the grace of God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spiritto help us endure when old certainties are shaken up anddisturbed.

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