The word temple today comes with a lot of cultural baggage. When we hear this word we might think of a pagan temple where people worship an idol or image. Or maybe we will just think of a large building where people worship, a church or synagogue. Well, the temple I want to talk about today is this: the place where the One God dwells.
It all started long ago in a place called the Garden of Eden. There was no need for a temple building, God made his creation and he made Adam and Eve, they dwelt together. God was with man in the Garden. The whole earth was God’s temple. It was beautiful. And then something happened, most of us know the story, the man sinned, he wanted to become like God and because of this God and man could no longer dwell together in unity. Thankfully this is not the end of the story.
Later in the story, God calls a man named Abraham to be the Father of a great nation, the people of God. These people eventually become known as the Israelites. Many years after Abraham, a man named Moses has something called a Tabernacle built, it’s like a mini Temple where God can dwell amongst his people. So God’s presence is now closer to his people.
Later in the story, one of the Kings of Israel named Solomon builds a temple for God. Now we have a large place where people can come and be closer to God. We know that God isn’t contained in man-made buildings, but he chooses to dwell in them and be close to his people.
Many years later, Israel gets invaded, the temple is destroyed, and the Israelites go into captivity. With time they rebuild their temple.
Finally, years pass and there is news that a messiah is coming into the world he will be named Emmanuel, which means “God with us.” This man is Jesus. He walks the earth showing us the love of God, claiming that he is the temple. He makes a bold statement in John 2:19, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up again.” The people were outraged thinking he was talking about the actual temple building, but he was talking about himself. How he would die and rise again three days later.
Sure enough, this is what happens, Jesus is killed, but three days later he resurrects back to life. He appears to his disciples and tells them to spread the good news to all the nations, no longer are the Israelites the only people of God, but all nations are invited into this family.
When Jesus ascends into heaven he sends his believers a gift, the Holy Spirit. Jesus says that the Holy Spirit will come and live inside of his believers. God is literally with us! It says in 1 Corinthians 6:19, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” And again in 1 Peter 2:5 “you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” We are the temple of God! How awesome is that!?
Since the garden God has been working to get closer and closer to his people, to restore them back to the Garden of Eden. Right now those who have put their faith in Christ are like mini temples of God. We are meant to go into the world and offer this reconciliation and peace to the world, to be the temple of God, to invite the nations into the people of God by sharing with them the good news of Christ.
In the end of the story we see that Jesus will come back to make all things new, to make a new heaven and new earth, and we will dwell with God on this new earth and this is what Revelation 21:22 says “I did not see a temple in the new city, because the Lord Almighty and the Lamb are it’s temple.” In the end those who are in Christ will dwell in perfect unity with God once again, just like in the garden of Eden.
But in the meantime, we are the temple of God! Go tell the world the good news of Jesus that he has died and resurrected from the dead and that he is Lord of all! Come, Lord Jesus!
If you’d like to support Brett and Annie as they serve with GEM in Juquila to share the gospel with this unreached town, you can do so HERE. You can also contact them directly to talk further about what it means to be on their support team and find out how you can be praying for them!