Witnessing the Temple

Today is the Memorial of Saint Andrew Dung-Lac, Priest, and Companions, Martyrs.

In Jesus’ day there was one thing that dominated the skyline of Jerusalem – the Temple – easily seen from across the way on the Mount of Olives, hovering over the Old City, and visible from every balcony in the upper city. It wasn’t the original Temple, but the second temple completed by King Herod the Great who make it a “wonder of the world.” While some people were speaking about how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings (Luke 21:5).

And so, there are the disciples taking in the view – the Temple and all its glory. They looked at the Temple and saw one thing. Jesus looked at the Temple and saw another.

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Temple

In the book of Genesis, the garden of Eden is portrayed as a high place where heaven and earth are one, and human relationships reflect this unity. But Eden is lost when humans rebel against God, so the unity between heaven, earth, and all humanity is fractured. God’s work throughout the rest of the Bible is all about recovering this lost unity. Israel’s tabernacle and temple served as symbolic Edens as they allowed for human and divine space to overlap. Because of Jesus, this place is no longer limited to one location, and the unity of Eden can be experienced wherever God’s people gather together in his love. Continue reading

The temple within

In Jesus’ day there was one thing that dominated the skyline of Jerusalem – the Temple – easily seen from across the way on the Mount of Olives, hovering over the Old City, and visible from every balcony in the upper city. It wasn’t the original Temple, that had been destroyed some 600 years before by the armies of King Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon. This the second temple. Construction started about 520 years before Jesus’ time but it was King Herod the Great who make the temple a “wonder of the world.” While some people were speaking about how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings (Luke 21:5). Continue reading

About the end: Temple

jesus-apostles-endtimes5 While some people were speaking about how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings, he said, 6 “All that you see here—the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.”

The architectural entity known as the Jerusalem Temple was a complex institution. It played a central religious and cultic role in Israelite life, as well as functioning on a political level. It was a symbol of the national state of which Jerusalem was the capital during the pre-exilic period, then of the semiautonomous community of Judeans after the exile, and finally of the Jews who continued to live in Jerusalem and the surrounding territory, with sporadic periods of autonomy, in the centuries before its final destruction. Continue reading

About the End: The Divine Plan for Discipleship

Jesus from the Deesis MosaicTime and The Divine Plan – A Theology of History. “Teacher, when will this happen? And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?” The broad scope of the question in v.7 is significant, since a judgment of Jerusalem that wipes out the temple suggests a time of great catastrophe and a turning point in the nation’s history and identity. Such an event can only signal that God’s plan for the nation is underway. Though Luke’s form of this question is more focused on the temple than the questions in Matthew 24:3 and Mark 13:4, its implications clearly cover the same span. Continue reading