-by Pastor Jacob Marshall, Antioch Missionary Baptist Church.
*Also a very special thank you to my wife Samantha for helping out on the audio recording since my voice is currently out of order from allergies. Thanks sweetheart!
Today let’s hop on a plane to Israel together and journey to the southwest corner of the Temple Mount to walk on a street Jesus and his disciples would have used. “Market Street” is a first-century paved street that ran along the western wall of the Temple Mount, and as we arrive, one of the immediate things you notice is that it’s covered with piles of massive stones. To figure out why, let’s look to the Bible.
*Please excuse my shaky hand as I walk down “Market Street.” Jesus and his disciples would have walked on this same street in the 1st Century.
In Mark 13, Jesus left the Temple for the final time before his death and set out for the Mount of Olives. Being joined by his twelve disciples, one called out, “Teacher, look at those tremendous stones and buildings!” awestruck at the sight of the Temple Complex.
Begun by Herod the Great, the renovation and construction of the Temple Complex as a whole took over 80 years to complete and was one of the most impressive building projects in the Roman World. Sitting on top of Mount Zion and facing east towards the Mount of Olives, the Temple shined as an opulent pearl to Herod’s building prowess and as the revered location where the Jewish people met with God. In the eyes of the disciples that day, there was nothing more permanent in all the world. Made of colossal pieces of cut limestone and staffed by thousands of priests, scribes, and workers, both the structure and the institution of the Temple seemed built to last.
Instead of responding in amazement himself, Jesus shockingly saw something else as he looked upon the Temple. “Do you all see these great buildings?” he said to the Twelve. “Not one stone will be left upon another which will not be torn down.”
The Twelve would have surely been in stunned silence for the rest of the walk. How could something so new, so sturdy and sizeable, a structure so seemingly essential for God and his plan be destroyed? Such a claim seemed ludicrous. What would prompt such a destruction? How would God then relate to his people? Surely, Jesus couldn’t be serious.
Now some 2,000 years later, as we look out on Market Street and see the great piles of stones lying in the street from the Temple’s awful destruction in AD 70 by the Romans, we’re struck with the truthfulness of Jesus’ words. It also reminds us of another temple Jesus once said would be torn down, but one he would raise up again in three days. Surely he couldn’t be serious…
Now go and see it for yourself in Mark 13!