Not one stone

Published 11:00 am Sunday, November 19, 2023

“Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said to them, ‘Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.’” — Matthew 24:1-2 (NKJV)

See also Mark 13:1-2 and Luke 21:5-6


We have all heard and been taught that this passage refers to those Saints who have gor their investment in us.

Without chastising the disciples, Jesus uses their obvious pride in the temple buildings as an opportunity to prophesy about the coming destruction of the temple. In so doing, He teaches them that the temple must not be the focus of their ministry to come, because it will cease to exist in their lifetime. Their focus must be the preaching of the Gospel in preparation for the coming periods of tribulation, both near, and in the distant future.

Their misplaced attitude toward the physical buildings is a hindrance to the fulfillment of the “Great Commission,” the ultimate work of the Church universal.

I wonder (not really) how closely our attitude toward the church buildings in our lives, parallels that of the disciples? Are we so enamored of “our church” that we have forgotten the purpose for which it exists? Is its eye appeal more important to us than having the manifest presence of the Holy Spirit within the building, and upon the congregation?

There is nothing even remotely wrong with having a beautiful and comfortable building in which to worship. The danger is that we become so focused on the outside of the “cup” and lose sight of the greater work of furthering the gospel, thereby leaving our first love in favor of aesthetics and numbers.

It is easy to measure Church value by attendance, and/or the beauty of the building. Jesus never mentioned temple attendance, nor held the temple beauty above the preaching of the gospel; neither should we.

The Rev. Bobby Thornhill is a retired pastor.