Listening to Jesus with the Disciples
A dramatic moment when Jesus leaves the Temple after prophetic confrontation with all that it stood for in that day from the sell-out of the Sadducees to the violence of the Zealots to the law focus of the Pharisees. The disciples see marvelous buildings; Jesus sees impending destruction.
The disciples ask three questions: (1) When will that destruction come? (2) What sign will show Jesus’ parousia – presence as king – and (3) the completion of the age (start of a new age)?
It’s hard for us to put ourselves in the place of the disciples listening to Jesus. They hadn’t seen the crucifixion, didn’t know about the resurrection or ascension, had no idea of a second coming or centuries of church history. They knew the temple and were hoping for Jesus as king of Israel. Jesus speaks to them in a way that is meaningful to them. Matthew records this after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in a.d. 70. We hear it from our much later perspective.