Just for a change I have taken the Message translation for today’s readings.
The Message (MSG)
41-44 When the city came into view, he wept over it. “If you had only recognized this day, and everything that was good for you! But now it’s too late. In the days ahead your enemies are going to bring up their heavy artillery and surround you, pressing in from every side. They’ll smash you and your babies on the pavement. Not one stone will be left intact. All this because you didn’t recognize and welcome God’s personal visit.”
45-46 Going into the Temple he began to throw out everyone who had set up shop, selling everything and anything. He said, “It’s written in Scripture,
My house is a house of prayer;
You have turned it into a religious bazaar.”
47-48 From then on he taught each day in the Temple. The high priests, religion scholars, and the leaders of the people were trying their best to find a way to get rid of him. But with the people hanging on every word he spoke, they couldn’t come up with anything.
2 Thessalonians 1:11-12
The Message (MSG)
11-12 Because we know that this extraordinary day is just ahead, we pray for you all the time—pray that our God will make you fit for what he’s called you to be, pray that he’ll fill your good ideas and acts of faith with his own energy so that it all amounts to something. If your life honors the name of Jesus, he will honor you. Grace is behind and through all of this, our God giving himself freely, the Master, Jesus Christ, giving himself freely.
The meeting that changed everything…
In early July 1927, a group of four men, Benjamin Strong, governor of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Sir Montagu Norman, governor of the Bank of England, Hjalmar Schacht, head of the Reichsbank and Charles Rist, deputy governor of the Banquet de France, met at an Estate on Northwestern Long Island. This was the exclusive area home to mansions owned by the Vanderbilts, Du Ponts, Astors, Morgans, Hearsts and many other of America’s wealthiest families. It is the area made famous in The Great Gatsby.
While America’s economy was booming, that of England, France and Germany and hence the rest of the world were in the doldrums. America enjoyed a record budget surplus, a booming stock market and a never ending spiral upward of share prices. While the GDP had risen 60%, stocks went up by 400% and with a steady influx of new investors there seemed no end to the cycle of boom that had gathered pace since the early twenties.
By 1927 almost half the world’s gold sat behind a ninety-ton steel door in a five story vault deep beneath the Federal Reserve Bank. This was not a good thing.
In the interests of world trade, the decision was made at this secretive meeting to cut America’s discount rate from 4% to 3.5 % to encourage holders of gold to move it to Europe where they would hopefully attract higher returns, bolster European reserves, stabilise the European currencies and boost trade. It would prove to be an unbelievable miscalculation.
Neither Calvin Coolidge nor his Treasury secretary Andrew Mellon saw fit to deal with disquiet voiced by many in the banking sector. They happily left the problem which we know as The Great Depression, and all its resultant misery was left for someone else to deal with.
So often throughout history men and women have been blind the the eventual impact of their decisions. The ruin is often visited upon another generation or those geographically distant.
Jerusalem makes the wrong choice..
In today’s reading, Christ, the Great Ambassador of Heaven as Matthew Henry refers to him, weeps as he beheld Jerusalem and the fate that awaited her. The gospel had been preached, salvation offered but they had resolutely refused to recognise God’s ‘Holy One’.
Jerusalem cannot escape the day of her desolation. While some heard and heeded the warning, ‘the body of the nation, and the leading part of it, were sealed up under unbelief.’ (Henry) In under forty year the terrible destruction wrought upon the city by Rome was complete. No stone and no person was spared.
Jerusalem had bequeathed for itself a terrible doom by their refusal to heed the warnings given. The prophets had spoken, and it had been repeatedly demonstrated what would happen when Israel refused God’s warnings. While those four men could never have foreseen the terrible destruction their single decision was to bequeath to the world on October 29 1929. The leadership in Jerusalem however had warning.
The warnings were clear and they still are today. We need to heed God’s gracious offer of salvation though the death and resurrection of Jesus. Faith and trust in him alone. After all….Grace is behind and through all of this, our God giving himself freely, the Master, Jesus Christ, giving himself freely.
(For a full account of the meeting read Bill Bryson’s ‘One Summer America 1927’)