CAMINANDO WITH JESUS: Love Will Knock Down the Stones
As Jesus came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what large stones and what large buildings!” Then Jesus asked him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.”
When he was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked him privately, “Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign that all these things are about to be accomplished?” Then Jesus began to say to them, “Beware that no one leads you astray. Many will come in my name and say, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed; this must take place, but the end is still to come. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. This is but the beginning of the birth pangs.
Scholars teach us that Mark wrote his gospel, including these words of Jesus, before year 70 in the Common Era, before the Roman legions destroyed Jerusalem and tore down the temple. The words of Jesus literally took place.
I wonder: What does Jesus want to teach us with these words? Sometimes it is difficult to interpret them because he was speaking more than 2,000 years ago, and I ask myself, how does this teaching apply today? What is its meaning 2,000 and 20-odd years later?
I come from a country, Venezuela, where we lived with all the tranquility that life can give us; we did not have shortages, we were happy and kind people when suddenly destruction came in all forms: economic decline, persecution, disintegration of the family, class differences exacerbated and hatred sown, hunger, parents leaving their children to go to other countries to seek financial resources to feed them, people murdered just to take their shoes, and so many other calamities too hard to mention. I wonder, are these the stones that will be thrown down? Is Jesus telling us in this story that all this destruction will lead us to question our faith in him? What a painful path!
Throughout the years, many buildings have been torn down and great man-made structures with amazing engineering have fallen. Is this what the Lord wants to tell us, that even when we develop the great structures and use the best construction methods, everything can be torn down in a moment?
Is that how we need to interpret his words? Or do they perhaps teach us that along the way we will encounter many difficulties as strong as stones, difficult situations such as hunger, destruction, deceptions, hatreds, wars, what we have been experiencing throughout these years?
It is difficult to know what Jesus really wanted to teach us with his words, but what I do know, and what I am sure about, is that even in the midst of so many trials, destruction, war and hatred, our faith is strengthened as a solid rock, based on the love of God, which we share with those around us. Even when stone upon stone falls, even when false prophets appear, even when deceptive people come in his name to destroy us, the Way of Love will overcome all adversity.
Let us be prepared for the present and for the future, let us commit our hearts with love to help, to care, to share that hope in trying times. The end will come to each of us when God decides. Let us be prepared for that end, trusting in God, walking the Way of Love, leaving good footprints where we live, where we work, with our family, with our friends and also with strangers. Love will knock down all those stones that we will sometimes have to move out of our way.
Nancy Urrecheaga Robayo lives in Raleigh and worships at Iglesia San José in Smithfield and Iglesia El Buen Pastor in Durham.
Tags: Caminando with Jesus