By the standards of 2,000 years ago Jerusalem’s Temple was outstanding. “What wonderful buildings” the disciples said to Jesus as they “came out of the Temple” (Mark 13:1). How shocked they must have been at his reply, “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down” (verse 2). And so they were just 40 years later!
Similarly, the Temple and city of Jeremiah’s day were destroyed and in chapter 39 we read how all that God had caused him to prophesy against the city took place. The king and all his officials are in great distress and most of them are killed.
Mark’s chapter records the pronouncements of doom Jesus made against Jerusalem itself. These have some parallels with events that Jeremiah experienced. However, in responding to his disciples’ anxious requests for further explanations Jesus described far more than the destruction of these “wonderful buildings”.
“This must take place”, he said, “but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places …” (verses 7-8). He made a significant point when he added, “and this gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations” (verse 10). Only now has this happened, or at least the gospels have now been translated into every known language. Surely we can say what wonderful foreknowledge the Bible reveals! Jesus told them, “… false prophets will arise … to lead astray if possible the elect” (verse 22). Jeremiah also had to contend with false prophets (29:24-32).
“But be on your guard”, Jesus said to the disciples, “I have told you all things beforehand” (verse 23). If we are truly his disciples, we will realize that among the “all things” are events that apply to our generation, for Jerusalem is no longer “trampled underfoot” and so “the times of the Gentiles have been fulfilled” (Luke 21:24). Our Mark chapter ends, “Therefore stay awake – for you do not know when the Master of the house will come”. A message for you and me.