Mark 13 contains the famous Olivet Discourse in the Gospel of Mark. It starts off with the disciples being very impressed with the temple in Jerusalem. They point out to the Lord how beautiful it was (Mark 13:1).
Many have remarked that it was an architectural wonder of the ancient world. Josephus and others observed how beautiful it was. It was made with huge stones that were elaborately decorated, even with gold. It was said that as one came to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, the sun shown off the gold, and it was a sight to see. The rabbis said that if you hadn’t seen the temple in Jerusalem, you had never seen what was truly beautiful. No wonder the disciples were impressed!
But chapter 13 does not stand alone. It really is the conclusion of chapters 11–12. In those chapters, Jesus is opposed by the religious leaders in the temple. At the beginning of this opposition, Jesus looks around the temple (Mark 11:11). He doesn’t like what He sees. He is not impressed. He comes back to the temple the next day and cleans house (Mark 11:15-19). He then tells the religious leaders judgment is coming upon them (Mark 12:1-11).
After the disciples point out how beautiful the temple is, Jesus immediately tells them that the temple will be completely destroyed (13:2). We know this happened in AD 70. It was burned to the ground by the Romans.
The most obvious thing we see in all of this is that Jesus did not see things the way the disciples did. The disciples saw things the way the world did. A beautiful building was right before their eyes. It was the pride of the nation. In fact, when Mark 13 was happening, it was during the Feast of Passover. Many thousands of people were visiting the temple from all over the world. Not only was it beautiful, but a lot of important people were there, and a lot of money was being made in the temple. The world measures importance and beauty in these kinds of things.
But Jesus understood that because of the sin of the people, especially in their rejection of Him, the days of the temple were numbered. He could see things as they really were.
As believers, we should want to be more like Christ. Part of that transformation (2 Cor 3:18) is seeing things the way the Lord does. If He abides in us, that is what will happen.
It is easy for us to value the same things the world values. To be impressed with what the world is impressed by: fame, money, worldly beauty, etc. We are just like the disciples, and it is easy to fall into that trap. We should pray to be more like Him. Lord, through your Spirit live through us so that we see the things around us as You do!