“Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him. And He said to them, ‘Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down.'” (Matthew 24:1-2)
Matthew 24 is about the future, the last days, and the return of Christ. But in a very real sense, there is more than eschatology in the words of Jesus to His disciples in verse 2.
The disciples were evidently very enamored with the temple and its surrounding complex. Verse 1 says that as they were leaving, they “came up to point out the temple buildings to Him.” But Jesus must have seen that they had some misplaced affections: perhaps they loved the physical temple and its glory too much? For He responded that “not one stone here will be left upon another which will not be torn down.” A word of prophecy of what was going to happen in the future? Yes, and the temple was indeed torn down by the Romans not long afterwards, in 70 A.D. But there is more here as well.
Not only is this a prophecy about what would happen to that particular building, it also serves as a warning against placing our affections too much in ANY particular building — or any material possession or earthly delight. “Do you not see all these things? … not one stone here will be left upon another which will not be torn down.”
As beautiful as the temple was, it was temporary. It would not last. Every single stone of it would one day perish — as will every single home we buy, every single car we drive, every piece of jewelry we purchase, every investment we make, and every piece of clothing we wear. We are tempted, like the disciples, to “glory” in these earthly things — and like them, to “point them out” to ourselves and others. And while it is not wrong to have a certain appreciation for our home, or car, clothes, and other possessions, we must also guard ourselves against glorying in them too much. They are not the stuff of which life truly consists. They are not eternal. They will perish — every last piece of them — and our heart needs to find its glory in eternal things — especially in our God Himself — instead.
Thus we might do well to say aloud, of every worldly possession in which we are tempted to glory, just like Jesus did of the temple: “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one (thing) here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down.”