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The Last Week: Tuesday (3 of 8)
Series: The Last Week of Jesus' Life
Tuesday of Passion week was a busy day for Jesus. About two thirds of the day consisted of conflict with the temple authorities, the remaining third dealt with Jesus speaking about the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple and of his coming as the Son of Man in the future. After a busy and emotional day of conflict at the temple, in the afternoon Jesus and his disciples were leaving the temple area (Mk. 13:1). The disciples were talking among themselves about how impressive the temple was, how it was "adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God" (Lk. 21:5). Mark records the impression the temple had upon Jesus' disciples: "Look Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!" (13:1).
The truth is, the temple built by Herod was "magnificent" and the stones were "massive." The largest stones measured 68 feet long, 9 feet high, and 8 feet wide. The largest stone excavated to date is 40 feet long, 10 feet high, and 14 feet wide, with an estimated weight of 500 tons. It would be easy to see why the people felt that the temple was indestructible. But Jesus said, to the shock of everyone, "As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down" (21:2). Like the prophet Jeremiah who had predicted the destruction of the place of worship (Jer. 7:14), six centuries earlier, Jesus spoke of the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem. The judgement that was symbolized on Monday in the temple was now being predicted by Jesus. Jesus' words would be fulfilled in A.D. 70 when Titus and his roman armies destroyed Jerusalem and the temple.
Of course, the disciples wanted to know the "when" and the "what" of Jesus' prediction (v.7). "When" will these things happen; that is, when will the temple and Jerusalem be destroyed? And "what will be the sign that they are about to take plac ...
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