The Lincoln memorial is not far from my house. It is my favorite memorial. When I ascend the steps and turn around, there is the mall before me, and in the distance, the Washington monument. There may be more beautiful cities, but I have not seen them. Patriotic people, looking at the same scene for the first time, seldom fail to feel that intense pride in their nation.
I would imagine that’s the way Jesus’ disciples felt as they were traveling through the temple courts in chapter thirteen. It was a magnificent structure. It had been under construction for nearly fifty years. Construction would continue for over thirty more. Disciples could not help but marvel at what was taking place.
As they voice their amazement (and perhaps no little pride), Jesus turns to them and says: “Do you see all these great buildings? Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”
It seems wholly unappreciative of Jesus, but the Lord has a point: Don’t put your trust in anything earthly. It will all come to an end. Everything here is temporary: government, achievements, programs, and treasures. They should all be thought of as disposable. Nothing should get in the way of following Jesus.
Two “ends” are contemplated in chapter thirteen: First, the end of the Jewish economy. Jerusalem will be destroyed. The Jewish nation and government will end, and it would end in one generation – the generation of the disciples (13:1-31). Second, the end of the world (32-37). It is now the latter one we must all be preparing for.