The Temple of God
December 20, 2021
Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said to them, "Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down" (Matthew 24:1-2).
It was Tuesday afternoon of Passion Week. Jesus and the disciples left the Temple complex, walked out of the city of Jerusalem, across the Kidron Valley and up the slope of the Mount of Olives. It was here Jesus gave the Olivet Discourse. All of His discourses since Matthew 21:23 were in the temple courtyards. But He had left the Temple complex for the last time until He returns in the 2nd coming when He establishes His earthly Kingdom after the Great Tribulation.
Jesus’ public teaching is now over. It was a tragic moment. As He left the city the disciples, to relieve His thoughts on the scathing denunciation of the Scribes and Pharisees, diverted His attention to the Temple buildings. They were very familiar to Jesus and beautiful to look at from the Mount of Olives as the sun began to set, like a snowcapped mountain (Josephus, “Wars”).
Mark 13:1-2 says the disciples pointed to the ‘stones’ of the temple. Josephus tells us “In that Temple were several stones which were 45 cubits long, 5 cubits high, and 6 cubits wide;” that is more than 70 feet long, 10 wide, and 8 high. These stones, weighing several tons each, were principally used in building the high wall on the east side of the Kidron Valley, from the base to the top of the Temple Mount. At that time, the stones were made of polished marble.
King Herod began the construction of the 2nd Temple complex around 18-20 B.C. In the days of Jesus construction had gone on for 46 years and had yet to be completed. But it was all for nothing. 40 years after the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, the Temple complex would be completely destroyed by the Roman army on September 8, A.D. 70. The only part of the Temple complex that remains today is the western ‘Wailing Wall’ that faces the Mount of Olives.
Monuments. Cities are marked with them. Cemeteries are filled with them. They remind us of past lives and achievements. That was the Temple in Jerusalem. To the Jews it meant everything. To Jesus it had lost its significance when the Spirit of God left it long ago in the days of Ezekiel. Today, the Temple of God is the body and life of the Christian. . . . do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Christians are living monuments to Jesus Christ, a body and life that glorifies the Lord and reminds the world that Jesus lives today and will one day return.
“Lord Jesus, may the day of Your return be soon. But until then may our lives be a glorious reminder to others that You are the resurrected Lord and we are Your Temple dedicated to bring others to Your salvation and into Your Kingdom. Amen.”