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Destruction’s root cause

Jesus left the temple and was going away when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. But he answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “(A)… many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray… and many false prophets will arise and lead many astray... (B) So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains… (C) Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather… (D) When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats… (E) You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.” Matthew 24: 1- 26: 1
The finance centre buildings along the Esplanade are rather magnificent. When you get a moment, stop and take a good look at them from the waterfront area. Way back in AD 30 in Jerusalem the followers of Jesus were admiring the magnificent temple buildings which had taken the past 47 years to reconstruct. 

Jesus told them that not one stone would be left on another. They wanted to know more. So he went across the Kidron valley and taught them there about the future of buildings and people. Matthew, a former taxation officer and one of Jesus’ followers was an eye-witness and recorded it in his biography of Jesus. 


‘If your treasure is on earth you are going from it; if it is in heaven you are going to it.’ (Anon.) 
Those wonderful AD 30 buildings which they saw across the valley we now know were totally destroyed in AD 70 with huge loss of life. What do you think Jesus would identify as the underlying cause not only of that then future event but also of all later destruction - like that in Syria and Yemen today?  

What Jesus taught about all this only takes up four printed pages in Matthew’s biography. He gave them several clues about the root cause of all pain and destruction – and how it would end. clues because he wanted them to think.

(A) First clue. Jesus said that people would arise time and time again claiming the right to be in charge. all of them would have ardent followers because they – and their followers - would be deceitful. does that ring true this morning? but what rises up inside people to think and act that way?

(B) Another clue was this. Jesus said that there was, is and would be a thing – an abhorrent thing in the world - the cause of all destruction and harm. One day, he said, that abhorrent thing will stand as the very pinnacle of holiness and claim universal power. What do you think? Could this abhorrent thing be the inner motivation within leaders? Even within all human beings? The one who will eventually claim global authority will have this abominable destructive motivation within.

(C) Third clue. Jesus said, “Wherever the corpse is there the vultures gather.” The wonderful book Les Miserables – and the musical and the film – depict a Monsieur Thénardier, the innkeeper, enriching himself earlier by looting the dead after the Battle of Waterloo, looting the corpses. Is it not a fact that human beings prey on one another? Do you think that all the major food retailers have rock bottom prices? Can that be so when in the financial pages they report increasing profits for their owners. 


‘It is not the fact that a man has riches which keeps him from the kingdom of heaven, but the fact that riches have him.’ (John Caird) 
(D) Fourth clue. In speaking of the very end time when justice will finally be done, Jesus depicts all human beings divided into one of two categories and calls them sheep and goats. What’s the main difference between a sheep and a goat? One of them grazes the grass. The other eats roots and all. Left alone what will happen to people who consume everything? Why do that? Why am I addicted? What’s wrong inside me?

(E) With those clues in mind there’s something rather special about how Jesus ended this talk with his followers back there in AD 30. He said to his followers, “You know that after two days the passover sacrifice will be here, and the Son of Man will be given away to death by crucifixion.” What a contrast! The root motivating destructive force within human beings will be allowed by him to rise up and destroy him. As now, actually. 
Sinner Syvret

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