Have you ever tried to make a prediction? Here are some predictions from the past. All from people who were trusted individuals:
Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, in 1943 said, “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.”
There was an inventor by the name of Lee DeForest. He claimed that “While theoretically and technically television may be feasible, commercially and financially it is an impossibility.”
The Decca Recording Co. made a big mistake when they made this prediction: “We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.” That was their prediction in 1962 concerning a few lads from Liverpool. Their band was called the Beatles.
As the disciples walked out of the Temple in Jerusalem Jesus paused with his disciples, looked back at the Temple an predicted, “Do you see all these great buildings. Not one stone will be left on another.” To the disciples this was bedrock. Nothing could bring down these walls. “Look, teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!” they said to Jesus.
The smallest stones in the structure weighed 2 to 3 tons. Many of them weighed 50 tons. The largest existing stone is 12 meters in length and 3 meters high, and it weighed hundreds of tons! The stones were so immense that neither mortar nor any other binding material was used between the stones. Their stability was attained by the great weight of the stones. The walls towered over Jerusalem, over 400 feet in one area. Inside the four walls was 45 acres of bedrock mountain shaved flat and during Jesus’ day a quarter of a million people could fit comfortably within the structure.
You can then understand the disciples surprise. As they walked down the Kidron valley and up mount olive Peter James and John wanted to hear more.
Jesus’ prediction that a structure so immense would be levelled to the ground seemed implausible. But they pressed Jesus for more information. They wanted to know when. What would be the sign that this was about to take place. In their voice was fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear that their lives were about to change forever. Jesus had not made any predictions like this one. This was different. This, they could understand.
Forty years later Jesus’ prediction came true. In 70 AD the Temple was destroyed by Rome.
But the Church of Jesus Christ – founded on the bedrock of faith – still stands.
Despite persecutions, despite divisions, despite criticism, opposition and mockery, despite all the forces the world can muster against it, the Church still stands,
It may lose direction at times; it may appear to have suffered setbacks; it may have been considered to have made grave errors of judgement – but it still stands, and still seeks to do God’s will and realize Christ’s divine manifesto.
Napoleon, writing in exile on St Helena, wrote these famous words:
“Alexander (The Great), Caesar, Charlemagne and I have founded empires. But on what? On force! Jesus alone founded his empire on love; and at this hour, millions of men would die for him. He is everywhere proclaimed, loved and adored and his sway is extended over all the earth”
The Church still stands – and it always will…as long as there are people ready to profess their faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour.
It has been predicted that the Church of Scotland, if present trends continue, will cease to exist by 2030 or thereabouts*.
But the Church world-wide is growing and expanding, and as long as there are people receptive to the good news, it will survive, rooted and grounded in the one who said “I am with you always, even to the close of the age”
* I used to be a member of Lothian Presbytery (which lies adjacent to the Presbytery of Edinburgh. We once had a talk from someone from Church HQ who talked about statistics showing decline in membership of the Kirk. To much amusement (!) he said that, if present trends continued, our larger neighbours would cease to exist by 2029. But then added, “And you will disappear the following year” Silence