Enduring Word of God

By Pastor Teck Uy

We all tend to be awed by the things of this world. We look at them and marvel not only at their beauty but also at their durability. This was the case of the disciples when they looked at the temple built by King Herod. They expressed their awe saying to Jesus, “Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!" (Mark 13:1). This could have been the common reaction of everyone that saw the temple at that time. Indeed, it was the pride of Israel. There was none like it in beauty. Historians said that when you looked at it from a distance, it was like looking at heaven itself. The stones used were of white marble and the sizes were massive, as large as 37 feet long, twelve feet high and six feet deep.

But while the temple gave a picture of durability and indestructibility in the eyes of the disciples, Jesus looked at it and went beyond what the naked eye could see. He refocused the eyes of the disciples on the destiny of all things. He said in response to disciples’ comment on the building, “Do you see all these great buildings? Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down" (Mark 13:2). It could have been difficult for the disciples to accept these words of Jesus then. Indeed, how can one destroy such a magnificent building so that not one stone would be left on top of another?  But it happened in 70 A.D. just as Jesus had said. This tells us that the Word of the Lord Jesus Christ is more enduring. He said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Luke 21:33).

The temporal nature of everything we see was emphasized by the apostle Paul when he said, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Cor. 4:18). This should make us reconsider our ways if our preoccupation now is to build a name for ourselves based on the things of this world. All these will be meaningless in the last days. All these will pass away and will not be of help to assure us of our salvation. In fact, it can drag us down. In the case of the Jews, the temple was of no help to them when their enemies came to destroy it. In fact, they themselves desecrated it earlier when they turned it into a market place. The Lord Jesus had to clear the temple, driving out the merchants saying, “My house will be called a house of prayer,' but you are making it 'a den of robbers” (Matt. 21:13). They were robbing the temple of its holiness and solemnity being a house of prayer.

While the temple was considered by the Jews as holy, having been used to house the Ark of the Covenant, it did not matter to Jesus. As far as Jesus was concerned, there was a greater temple. When Jesus was asked by the Pharisees on when the kingdom of God will come, he said, "The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:20-21). Yes, the kingdom of God is within us. This is the reason why the apostle Paul had to emphasize “Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?” (1 Cor. 3:16). As born again believers, this temple that we have, our body, is indestructible since the Holy Spirit lives in it.

As we build our lives, it is necessary that we make the Lord Jesus Christ not only the foundation of our lives but also the cornerstone and capstone as the apostle Peter emphasized in his epistle when he said, “‘See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.’ Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone’” (1 Peter 2:6-7). Let us not build it based on the things of this world that will perish, no matter how durable they may appear. Only the Word of the Lord will endure forever. In fact, when God gave his words, those very words will accomplish their purposes just as the words of the Lord Jesus Christ came to pass when the temple was finally destroyed. As Jesus had said, there was not one stone left on top of the other.

Even to this day, we do not see any stone that was part of the original temple on top of another. The Western Wall, the holiest site for the Jews today, was not part of the original temple. This was just the retaining wall of the mountain. It became the holiest site for the Jews because it is the closest spot to the Holy of Holies portion of the old temple. But to us who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, the holiest site is within us. Let us remember that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit, and we know this because the Word of God says so. Therefore, let us hold on to the enduring Word of God. Praise the Lord!