God Takes His Temple

“The Lord, whom you seek, shall suddenly come to His Temple, even the messenger of the Covenant, whom you delight in; behold, He shall come, says the Lord of hosts” (Malachi 3:1)

Suddenly, that’s how Jesus showed up. The hopes and fears of all the years were met by God. Love answered the curse of sin and death with His coming. 

Immanuel – God with us. This is what He was to be called (Matthew 1:23). The virgin did conceive and the Son was born. And so it began on that Christmas Day long ago, that original moment when the little Lord Jesus was there, asleep on the hay in the manger.

From the beginning, the Lord has set eternity in the hearts of all people. This is told to us in Ecclesiastes 3:11.

In Bethlehem, at that moment of delivery, eternity became present on earth in a new form. More than present, God gave Himself to humanity. God the Son took on flesh, our flesh. His incarnation was accomplished. He was embodied. He could be seen and heard; He could touch, and He could be touched.

The Son grew to be a boy. He was a teen-ager. He lived through His 20s. And then, at about age 30, He began to reveal the eternal reality of His Person (see Luke 3:23). 

All at once, Jesus was here, there, and everywhere. He was baptized. The Spirit lighted upon Him as a Dove. The Father spoke from Heaven regarding Him. He spoke truth to any who would hear. He demonstrated His authority over diseases, evil spirits, and death. He set captives free and declared the “acceptable year of the Lord” (see Isaiah 61). 

The Body of Christ

I like how the passage in Malachi puts it. He suddenly appeared as this Baby born. He came to His Temple and His Temple was more than what met the eye. To fully understand the meaning of this picture, we have to put this prophet’s passage alongside the one that we read from the gospel of John.

There, in the gospel, Jesus speaks of His true Temple as He zealously went about cleansing the Temple building in Jerusalem. In that scene recorded in John 2, Jesus fashioned a whip of small cords and drove out those who were merchandizing. The religious leaders confronted Him. They demanded to know by what authority He took such action.

He answered them, “Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

This statement brought forth some consternation. There was scoffing because the building they were in had taken 46 years to construct.

The words Jesus said struck twisted ears and dead hearts. These people could not imagine what He was really saying. 

Jesus was speaking of something more, of something greater than a structure fashioned by human hands:  “He spoke of the Temple of His Body” (see John 2:21). 

It wasn’t until after Jesus’ Resurrection that an understanding of these words came together in the minds and hearts of His disciples. Through His defeat of death, and by His dying and rising again, the Son established an indestructible way of worship and life as mentioned in Hebrews 10:20:  “By a new and living way, which He has consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh.” A lasting and permanent “Temple” was founded, built upon the fulfillment of the promises and covenant by the one and only Immanuel. 

Immanuel, the God who is with us is also the God who shall never leave us, nor forsake us. He made a way for Him to be in us and for us to be in Him. Click To Tweet

Immanuel, the God who is with us is also the God who shall never leave us, nor forsake us. He made a way for Him to be in us and for us to be in Him. We read of this great promise as Jesus told it in John 14:20:  “In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.”

The Temple of His Body was torn and battered and buried. It was attacked by men of religion and men of government. These had no use for this manner of “Temple,” a Temple of heart and Spirit. 

Glory to God, the Temple of His Body has been raised to life again. And now, we being many, are now made One in Him through the sending of the Holy Spirit (see Romans 12:5). 

True Worship

To the woman at the well in John 4, Jesus explained that this time would arrive. He proclaimed to her that worship would one day transcend place and space. “The hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and Truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him” (John 4:23). 

We are His worshippers. We are His chosen generation. Fitted together to praise and adore Christ the Lord.

We are who He is. We are in Him and He is in us. 

Temples, living, breathing, eternally redeemed Temples – this is who we are as churches and as individuals. Nothing can remove us from the love of God we have in Christ. It is ours.

He is ours. We are His. 

The world must see this in us. We must allow Him to separate from us the things that don’t belong. 

It can happen suddenly. A confession, a prayer, a lament, a song of praise – all of these prepare the way for Him. 

We can talk to the Lord the same way that Mary did. She heard the angel’s words and said simply, “Let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). 

Even in our failure, we can tell Him all about our problems. Our broken and contrite hearts may pray with confidence, “Have mercy, O God.”

Praise Him for this. 

 

Steve Andrulonis
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