1 And as he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!” 2 And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” - Mark 13:1–2
These difficult words by Jesus are both puzzling and harsh, but they contain a secret that should cause every believer to catch their breath and consider their life.
We often see the Temple in a faulty perspective.
The New Testament is replete with stories of religious legalities, corrupt Pharisees, ineffectual ceremony and conspiring priests. These were problems at the time of Jesus… #TRUTH.
Still, the reader has to remember what the Temple was designed for, and as I boil it down to two things I am only skimming the top of it’s wealth and meaning.
First, the Temple was the place of intercession as priests carried out very specific duties on behalf of humanity which was separated from God by it’s sin. They made sacrifice, appeased the wrath of God, and made forgiveness accessible as intermediaries of heaven.
There was no other way for humanity to find it’s way to God… we were too lost, too broken, too far gone.
Second, the Temple was the housing of the Ark of the Covenant, placed in the Holy of Holies in the deepest part of the Temple making it the most precious location on earth.
Why? Because this was the throne room of God, where His presence was to reside seated between the Cherubim angel carvings atop the Ark known as the Mercy Seat.
This was the very presence of God on earth… until the glorious coming of the New Covenant at the crucifixion of Jesus when the Temple Veil separating the Holy of Holies from humanity was torn in two changing the rules forever!
Jesus words from the Gospel of Mark about the destruction of the Temple were prophetically true (as was everything He said). The Temple was destroyed by invading forces in 70 AD.
And these harsh words to the disciples were meant to teach them (and us) a couple of important things.
One, that even our greatest monuments are but human institutions and structures. It’s not the “great buildings” that matter, but the truth they point towards that must be remembered.
It’s not about the Temple, but the God that resided there! It’s not about the ceremony, but the forgiveness that was given!
Second, with the destruction of the Temple the Holy of Holies was NOT lost, but it had been moved. You see, the presence of God ceased to reside upon the throne of the Ark of the Covenant decades before when the veil was torn.
To where was it transferred? Another facility, to heaven, to all of creation? No.
19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. - 1 Corinthians 6:19–20
The world often says your body is a temple, but they do not know the half of it!
When you invite Jesus into your life, your heart becomes the new Holy of Holies and the presence of God resides there! From the moment of Christ’s death upon a cross, the residency of God on earth transferred from the Temple to the human heart that would receive Him.
That’s why I began this note with the thought that Jesus words from Mark 12 contain a secret that should cause every believer to catch their breath and consider their life.
Is your mobile Temple fairing better than the one of Jesus day, or do we still have the same problems: religious legalities, corrupt thoughts, ineffectual ceremony and conspiring agendas.
One day, this Temple will be torn down, too. And, all that will matter is the God that resided there and the relationship he had with the worshipper who invited His presence.
I pray for each of us today as I consider my own sinfulness and the corruption of my own heart, that we would embrace some Temple reform. May the current dwelling place of God be made a place that He can dwell and we can meet with Him.
Monday, June 7, 2021
This should be a short author profile.