I Will Raise It Up
“Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” John 2:19
Jesus was responding to the Jews in the synagogue, after He had tossed the tables and driven out the merchants and the flocks. They wanted a sign that gave Him authority to do what He did and say what He said, that being, “Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.” (John 2:16) The Jews responded with ridicule and sarcasm in that they spoke of the forty six years it took to build the temple.
“But He spake of the temple of His Body.” John 2:21
Jesus was speaking of His death and resurrection and the disciples would remember He said this afterward, when Jesus fulfilled this prophecy. Yet, take a look at another scripture:
“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” I Corinthians 3:16
“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” I Corinthians 6:19
Now, let me share with you what happened last night, that being communion night, at church. Please, bear with me.
Pastor John taught about the cleansing of the house prior to Passover. He spoke of how the Israelites were to go through the house and clean out all of the leaven. He spoke of how that was a representation of how we are to clean out the sin in our lives before we come to communion, since communion is our remembrance of what Christ did for us, and how that was the fulfillment of the requirement of Passover forevermore.
He read from John, chapter 2, and showed how immediately after His first miracle, turning water to wine, Jesus went to the Passover celebration in Jerusalem and went to His Father’s house and rid it of all the leaven by chasing out the merchants and moneychangers. Pastor spoke of how this was representative of our lives, how we come to the Lord and are saved, and then He goes to work. The Holy Spirit works within us to make changes and clean out all of the sin in us, we being now the temples of the Lord. As Pastor John spoke, the conviction of my own life began to set in. I thought on those things which I have in my life that are not pleasing to the Lord, and which I need to give up to Jesus, and let Him cleanse me of. Pastor was speaking this very thing about all of us, how over time we let sin creep back in.
As I thought on those things, and truly felt the sorrow in my heart for having allowed them back in, with my eyes closed, I had a picture in my mind of a wall. The wall was but a part of what it used to be, that of a larger room. It was adjoined to another, forming a corner, with a window opening in the second, but not much more. In that dark corner was a figure curled up in a ball, shivering, away from a campfire that was burning where the middle of the room should have been. As I pondered what this meant, I pulled away from that corner and saw that the roof was gone, and there were stars in the sky, and not much more could be recognized without the walls, but only the floor which supported them both. Then, it hit me that the figure was me.
The walls were what remained of the temple that God has made of me. The temple that I have abused and mostly destroyed because of my impatience, my selfishness, and my pride. The fire was the Lord and, because of my own shame and fear, I had pulled myself apart from Him and was feeling alone. But, then God reminded me of what He said after they questioned Him whipping the merchants and overthrowing tables.
“Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.”
He may have been talking about Himself, but last night, He was talking about me.
I may have bombed the temple, defiled it and torn it down, possibly even painting graffiti on the outside of what remained, I don’t know. But, God says, He can rebuild it. He has never forsaken me, and He never will. He has never forgotten me, and He never will. I thank God, the Only True God, that even when I make mistakes, even when I fall back into old habits or old ways of living or thinking, He keeps me. He is always there and, though He allows me to choose, He continues to love me anyway. He is so awesome in power, so immeasurably beyond my ability or scope of understanding and yet so tender in mercy. He is so incalculably patient and kind. His love knows no limits and because of Who He is, His atonement is so vastly encompassing, so perfectly done, that it truly covers us with grace for all things.
And so, I cried as I held the elements in my hands. I felt unworthy to partake with my brothers and sister who sat all around me, and yet, I felt the most worthy. I felt that way because I also felt the most in need of being reminded of all of what I believed. I knew the Lord forgave me of all things because, after all, that is how great His work on the Cross. I just needed the reminder so that I could continue to serve Him.
And so, I rejoiced as I allowed His love to encompass and fill me, within and without. And in the image of my mind, I saw that the campfire was on solid ground. The firmament of the building, the temple which I am was solid. There was no cracks in the foundation, no chips or breaks. Though the walls were mostly gone, and there was no roof, the foundation stood. Praise God!
May any and all who are in a similar season of their lives find comfort in my experience. May you share in it and know that God is still God. He still sits on His Throne, and He still reigns from on High. There will never be any to usurp Him. If you are heartbroken, feeling lost, not feeling His Presence in your life, know the Truth. The truth is that you feel that way because of decisions you have made, but if you still feel convicted and you feel a failure, then you still have the Holy Spirit working on your heart, and you still have the sure foundation that is Jesus.
Though the temple may be defiled and all but destroyed, God can build it back up, and He will.
God bless you today, and every day.