Read Mark 13:1-2
Walking in Manhattan in New York City, it is easy to become mesmerized by the huge buildings which surround you. Everything from the height, to the architecture, to the ornate facades causes a person to marvel at the accomplishments of humanity. The Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building and the new One World Trade Center astonish visitors to the Big Apple over and over. This is just one example of a location where human ingenuity, creativity and hard labor astounds us. There are many other examples such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Hoover Dam, and the Space Needle which exist throughout the United States. If one was to look throughout the world even more examples exist; the Eiffel Tower, the Colosseum, Big Ben, Taj Mahal, Great Pyramids and the Great Wall of China are some international examples. All of these structures cause awe in us when seen.
During Jesus’s time, the Temple in Jerusalem was awe-inspiring. Today’s passage makes this clear. As the disciples are leaving the Temple with Jesus, one mentions to him in casual conversation how wonderful the structure is to him. Jesus foretells a time when these amazing human structures will be destroyed. This will be true a few decades after Jesus’s death and resurrection.
The discussion which Jesus has with his disciples should cause us to pause and consider where we place our awe. Often we can become overly impressed with human achievements. At times we are so impressed that we lose sight of the most awesome reality in our lives, God actively engaged in our life is more amazing than anything found on this earth. The disciple was possibly more amazed in the Temple than in the fact that he was walking with the Son of God. Whether the truth that the Almighty God is actively in relationship with each of our lives has became part of our ordinary assumptions or we fail to even consider the idea, we often focus more on the things around us, things which do not last.
Jesus is attempting to redirect the disciple, and us, from being awed by an earthly structure toward the reality of being in relationship with the God of all creation. As inspiring as the achievements of humanity may be, the work of God is so much more inspiring. Besides, God’s work is eternal while humanity’s will pass away.