When Jesus Talked About Deconstruction

When Jesus Talked About Deconstruction May 18, 2023

Many conservatives criticize the deconstruction movement. But, as a Carpenter, Jesus knew the value of tearing old buildings down to rebuild.

When Jesus Talked About Deconstruction - Destruction of Temple
By Francesco Hayez – The Yorck Project (2002) 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei (DVD-ROM), distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH. ISBN: 3936122202., Public Domain, 

When Jesus Talked About Deconstruction

One day, Jesus’ disciples commented about the beautiful temple with all of its ornamentation. Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, not one stone will be left upon another.” Jesus was talking about deconstruction. In this, Jesus prophesied an actual deconstruction of the Jewish temple that would take place in 70 CE. Within a generation, Rome would conquer Jerusalem and demolish the house of God. It had been rumored among the Romans that the Jews hid gold in the very bricks and mortar. So, they literally tore the place apart, leaving not one stone upon another. In this way, Jesus’ prediction of deconstruction came true.


A Part of Jewish History

When Jesus talked about deconstruction, he knew that it was a part of Jewish history. Israel left Egypt but continued to follow the cult of the golden calf. They had to learn to give up those old beliefs to embrace something new. When Solomon built the temple, they needed to give up Tabernacle worship in exchange for something permanent. With the destruction of that temple in 587/586 BCE, Jewish believers had to adapt to worship without their center for sacrifice. Thus, the synagogue was born. A couple of generations later, many Jews returned from captivity in Babylon and Persia and reinstituted the sacrifice. All of this involved religious deconstruction and reconstruction. Soon, a new temple was built. In Jesus’ day, it was not only reconstructed but improved.


Jesus Also Talked About Reconstruction

Tear this temple down,” Jesus said, “and I will rebuild it in three days. His enemies misunderstood him and thought he was threatening to destroy their house of worship. Instead, he used the temple as an analogy for his own body, which would be crucified and resurrected. In the aftermath of his death, he expected his disciples’ faith to fall apart. Fortunately, in the resurrection, Jesus provided just that miracle they needed to reconstruct their faith. But there must first be a deconstruction before one can reconstruct. When sifting through the rubble of your demolished temple, that’s when you’re likely to discover bits of gold.


One Loose Stone

Rarely does deconstruction start with an angry demolishing of an old faith system. Typically, it begins with one loose stone. One problematic point of theology. One churlish church member. You chip away at the mortar until you pull that stone out of place. Then you inspect it to find whether there are any hidden ingots inside or whether it’s just a piece of granite. You decide what to keep, and what to throw away. Then you move on to the next one until not one stone is left upon another.


Not to Abolish…But to Fulfill

When Jesus overturned the tables in the temple, he started many people’s deconstruction process. Jesus came to deconstruct a system of rules and regulations, but not to leave a pile of rubble. He promised to rebuild. “I have not come to abolish the law, he said, but to fulfill it. He came, ultimately, not to tear things down, but to bring them to their perfection. The weeping of deconstruction may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning, with resurrected faith. Jesus planned not to leave faith in a heap of rubble, but to reconstruct a relationship with God and others, based on sacrificial love.


The Right Foundation

If you are reading this article, then you are likely interested in deconstruction, one way or another. Either you are opposed to it because you’ve been taught not to question your faith, or you are engaged in deconstruction yourself. As a carpenter, Jesus knew a lot about the subject. He knew that sometimes you must tear down an old thing before you can rebuild. If the substructure is too far gone, a simple renovation will not do. You’ve got to take it down to the foundation and start again.


When Flimsy Faith Falls

When Jesus talked about deconstruction, he encouraged you to rebuild on the right foundation. I can’t tell you what the right theological foundation is for you. That’s the whole point—figuring it out for yourself. But I do advise you to choose wisely because the foundation will determine the strength of anything built upon it. The wise person builds a house upon a rock, Jesus said. When the storms of life come, and the winds blow, if you have built on sand, the building will fail and fall. That’s what some religious deconstruction is about in the first place. People realize they’ve built their house of faith on bad theology, or assumptions about the church, or shaky relationships that are easily torn down when life’s storms blow against it. But remember, it’s no tragedy when flimsy faith falls. It gives the opportunity to rebuild.


Count the Cost

As you reconstruct, it’s important to make sure you build on the firm foundation of unconditional love instead of fear. Rebuild carefully, thoughtfully, prayerfully, and purposely. Jesus said no one built the tower without first counting the cost because they wouldn’t want to start a project without being able to finish. In reconstruction, counting the cost means carefully evaluating all points of doctrine. It means calculating each belief. Ask, “Will this belief make me more loving? Will this doctrine make me more like Jesus? Or will it make me judgmental and unkind?” You’ve got to count the cost, build on the right foundation, and choose your materials wisely. Otherwise, anything you reconstruct will fall apart just as easily as your first house of faith that fell down. As a carpenter, Jesus can help with your demolition project. But he also wants to help you rebuild.


If this article has spoken to you, check out my section on deconstruction.

"I understand, I've been wondering about that myself, makes perfect sense."

Do Christians Have a Monopoly on ..."
"I would have to disagree that man is a Trinity. Man is born with the ..."

Do Christians Have a Monopoly on ..."
"An unaddressed hurdle..."While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and ..."

Do Christians Have a Monopoly on ..."

Browse Our Archives