Matthew 24:1-3. The disciples wandering through Jerusalem, the city of the great King, were in awe of the great building/s that constituted the Temple.“What a building,” they proudly exclaimed – as you would have, had you been an inhabitant of that city, or the land, for that matter. What came next was out of the blue, and may have made them see red.
Jesus shocks the disciples by saying the temple will be unceremoniously dismantled. Dismantled is a nice word, smacking of safe work place practises, union officials and big coloured safety vests. It was obliterated, smashed to pieces with a fury. The temple had figured largely in their expectations of a coming Kingdom/King and here was Jesus saying it was to be destroyed. This messed with their deepest expectations and beliefs about the end of the age, and the rule of Israel. How could this be? And what of the promises of restoration and the Messiah? Jesus turned their dreams on its head. Yet he never thought something unusual was happening, as though God had missed his opportunity, or muffed it once and for all.
Expecting one thing and being given another is disconcerting, to say the least. It isn’t uncommon for our expectations re. God and his rule and promises to be aberrant or, at least, misguided. He is not the problem. We often misunderstand, and misinterpret what God is doing. We are fixed on things going one way, and they often don’t. This is no defeat, nor is it a lack of care or the lack of providing an answer – we just have to readjust to see what God is doing.