Monday, November 8, 2010
This Western Wall is what's left of the Temple that existed in the time of Jesus. It is a holy place of prayer. Some people put their petitions on a piece of paper and stick it between the stones of the wall. I put my hand on the Wall and prayed for peace between Israelis and Palestinians. (I'm not sure what those shadows are.)
As Luke 21:5-19 begins people are praising the Temple's beauty. About 20 BC King Herod had begun a magnificent restoration of the Second Temple. After his death, this work continued until 63 AD. Only 7 years later the Romans destroyed the Temple.
In the first part of this passage this is what Jesus is talking about. This becomes part of a longer apocalyptic passage that speaks of natural disasters and signs in the heavens and betrayal by families. The apocalyptic style of writing can be very frightening, but oddly its intention is to comfort. It uses extravagant images to get across the message that no matter how terrible things look, our all-powerful God is looking out for us and making sure that good triumphs over evil. This is captured in verse 18: "Not a hair of your head will be harmed."