Psalm 27

4 One thing I have asked from the Lord,

    that will I seek after—

for me to dwell in the house of the Lord

    all the days of my life,

to see the beauty of the Lord,

    and to inquire in His temple.

What about the Temple today? You see, the Temple of Jerusalem is the one place God’s people thought he was present directly. There was really no such thing as the direct presence of God anywhere else. When the Temple is destroyed by the Romans, it is a faith crisis from which the Jewish people are still reeling.

Judaism would shift to teaching rather than sacrifice as the center of faith, but Jewish people are haunted still by what should be.

Jesus took Judaism down a different path. He clearly thought of himself as the new Temple. His death is once and for all the sacrifice for the world. There is no need for sacrifice anymore. Now the presence of God goes everywhere. It is how Jesus penetrates the world. We can worship, anywhere. And worship isn’t about sacrificing animals or even praising in the Temple. Worship is a lifestyle, not an event. The way we live our lives is the new Temple. When you are following Jesus, you bring God wherever you go.

ME

Ask yourself throughout the day, “How am I worshiping God right now?”

Tuesday March 15- The Trouble with Jesus

Gratitude

Spend five minutes focusing on a couple of things you appreciate and thank God for them.

Word

Mark 14:55-61

Inside, the leading priests and the entire high council were trying to find evidence against Jesus, so they could put him to death. But they couldn’t find any. Many false witnesses spoke against him, but they contradicted each other. Finally, some men stood up and gave this false testimony: “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this Temple made with human hands, and in three days I will build another, made without human hands.’” But even then they didn’t get their stories straight! Then the high priest stood up before the others and asked Jesus, “Well, aren’t you going to answer these charges? What do you have to say for yourself?” But Jesus was silent and made no reply.

Here is the situation. Palm Sunday has already happened. There are thousands of people who seemed ready to crown Jesus as king only a few days ago. The high priest would have to come up with something terrible that Jesus did in order to turn the mob against him. It has to be something worthy of the death sentence.

But there is also the matter of the Romans. Caiaphas has to come up with something terrible in order for the Romans to kill him. The Romans won’t let the Jews execute their own people.

So, why is there so much opposition to Jesus by the high priest and the chief priests? Think of it.

Jesus is messing with the Temple. The day after Palm Sunday, Jesus disrupts the whole Temple system by driving out the Temple employees. (Mark 11:15-16)

He also prophesies the Temple is going away soon, anyway. (Mark 13:1-2)

So you see, why wouldn’t Jesus be in trouble?  If you are threatening to destroy the center of religious faith and the center of commerce for Israel, how do you think this affects the people who benefit the most from it? For the High Priest and chief priests the Temple is everything.

Jesus is saying he has authority over the Temple and over those who run the Temple. Of course they are going after Jesus.  They have a good thing going. So, the chief justice and his court are ready.  Court is in session.

Things start out bad for the priests. They can’t get anyone to be able to tell testify properly against Jesus. O, they use false witnesses, but they can’t get their stories straight. They need at least two witnesses who tell the same story. You see, in the Jewish law, there has to be two or three eyewitnesses (Deuteronomy 19:15).

So, now what? Caiaphas is clever. Like a good persecutor, he tries to trip Jesus up.

Me

Because you can do something, doesn’t mean you have to do it. For a couple of days, forego a privilege you take for granted.

 

Monday February 22- Jesus and the Temple

Gratitude

Spend five minutes focusing on a couple of things you appreciate and thank God for them.

Mark 14:1-2

Passover – the feast of unleavened bread – was due in two days. The chief priests and the lawyers were plotting how to seize Jesus by a trick, and kill him. ‘We can’t do it at the feast,’ they said. ‘The people might riot.’

Content- Jesus and the Temple

Jesus has predicted the destruction of the Temple by pagan enemies. Jesus has acted this out his own disruption of the Temple operations. He drives out the moneychangers.

Jesus vs. Temple is the main event. A key charge against him. This false Messiah is set on disrupting the whole Jewish sacrificial system. From the slaughter of the lambs at the original Exodus to the slaughter of lambs for the coming Passover, who is he to mess with over 1000 years of history? 

Well, he must be someone who is being listened to by someone. A potential riot with a city full of people? Why isn’t everyone backing the establishment? For the status quo to remain, this rebel must go. 

The dark clouds are gathering.

The Romans will get rid of the Temple some day, but what’s the rush? They will get rid Jesus first, very soon. 

Me

Ever notice how all the “false messiahs” who are going to save the world eventually get to violence as one of their tools of choice? Bring a sense of peace into someone’s life today.

Tuesday February 16

Gratitude

Spend five minutes focusing on a couple of things you appreciate and thank God for them.

Word

Mark 13:1-2

As they were going out of the Temple, one of Jesus’ disciples said to him, ‘Teacher! Look at these huge stones, and these huge buildings!’

‘You see these enormous buildings?’ said Jesus. ‘There will not be one single stone left on top of another. They will all be torn down.’

 

Content

It’s personal

The stones used to build Herod’s Temple are huge. They are limestone blocks from local quarries situated above where the Temple is. Some of them are 80 tons! When Nancy and I walked below Jerusalem we saw some of the  original stones that Jesus and the disciple are talking about here. Amazing how they got them to the Temple. They used oxen, wooden rollers and gravity to roll them to the Temple sight. The stonecutters would leave chunks of stone projections on the rock so that ropes could be tied around them and then a crane would be used to place them on top of each other. 

The Temple was the most massive and beautiful building for hundreds of miles and off course pilgrims going to Jerusalem are going to be impressed. Then here is Jesus being kind of a party pooper about the whole thing! 

“Yah, the stones are pretty impressive but they won’t be standing soon.” What is he saying?

An earthquake is coming?

You might say that. The sacrificial system at the center of first century Judaism has already been disrupted by Jesus when he kicks out the Temple money changers. That is just a sign of things to come. The focus on sacrifice and following manmade rules of religious rituals are is going to end. The Temple is the seat of God, but soon God will work through more than a building…God is working through people!

God allowed his people to build the Temple in Jerusalem, but that is not his first choice. God chooses to bless the world through his people. 

And the Temple will be destroyed by the Romans in about 40 years, anyway…

Me

God is at work through me and not a church building. Wherever I go people are seeing the temple. Spend some time with God today talking about what kind of impact you are having on the lives of people around you.