And while some were speaking of the temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and offerings, [Jesus] said, “As for these things that you see, the days will come when there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.
“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it, for these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written.” Luke 21:5-6, 20-22 ESV
And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” Luke 19:41-44 ESV
When Jesus had entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, he cried over it and said that the days were coming when enemies would come and tear the city down to the ground. This was going to be God’s judgment on the city that did not believe in the promised Savior who had come to them. Now a few days later some people were talking to Jesus about their beautiful temple, and all the offerings and the lovely stones that had made it such a wonderful building. But Jesus said again that the time was coming when every stone of the temple would be torn down. He warned the people who were listening that when they saw Jerusalem surrounded by armies, they should run away out of the city and into the mountains. If they were outside Jerusalem, they shouldn’t try to go back into the city, because it wouldn’t be safe there.
In 66 A. D., a little more than 30 years after Jesus’ time, the Jewish people started a rebellion against the Roman empire. The Roman army came against the city, and in 70 A. D., Titus, a commander of the Roman army, surrounded the city. He dug trenches and built a wall around the city so that he could put it under siege. Then the Romans used a battering ram to enter Jerusalem and the troops fought their way from street to street. Some people had gone into the temple thinking they would be safe there, but the Roman army burned the temple down. The city and the temple were destroyed, and over one million Jewish people died. Some Christians who had remembered Jesus’ warning escaped the city when they saw the trouble start, and they fled to a place called Pella and survived the attack.
God’s judgment on Jerusalem was a picture of his judgment on the whole world that has turned against him in sin and rebellion and refused to believe in Jesus as their Savior. When God brings the world to an end, there won’t be any place that anyone can run and hide. But we have a safe place that we can hide now, and that is with Jesus. Jesus died on the cross to take on himself all of God’s judgment against sin and evil, and everyone who believes in Jesus will be safe from God’s final judgment. We are always safe when we run to Jesus for forgiveness and life.
Dear Jesus, thank you for dying on the cross and being our safe place from God’s final judgment. Amen.