Hebrews 10:11-14, 19-25,
In the centuries before Solomon became king, the people of Israel had a special tent they regarded as God’s dwelling place among them. This tabernacle then gave way to the temple building in Jerusalem. Heaven was God’s special realm; all creation was, in a sense, God’s temple; but the nation looked to the temple in Jerusalem as God’s home on earth. Its existence gave them a sense of security – God was with them. They took great pride in the building. By the time Jesus lived, this was the third temple to stand on the site. It had been constructed under the initiative of king Herod and stood as the most conspicuous building in the city. It stood as a symbol of the whole religious life of the people. While synagogues provided meeting places in towns and villages all over the country, places where prayers were offered, psalms were sung and Scriptures were read and expounded, the temple in Jerusalem was the only place where sacrifices were offered. The temple was the place where God was present in a very special way. In forecasting the coming destruction of the temple which took place about forty years later Jesus was saying something about the end of an era. The Jerusalem temple was now no longer the special place where God touched the earth, Jesus was. Jesus the Christ replaced the temple as the special place of God’s presence. We express the same thing by saying that Jesus was the Son of God, the Word made flesh, the image of the invisible God. God’s home on earth now is no longer a physical location. It is a person. The way to God is now no longer via the Jerusalem temple; it is through the one who said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” Jesus is the temple and the great high priest who brings God to the people and the people to God. Then the Church could also be called God’s temple as could the body of the individual believer within whom the Spirit of Christ dwelt. (1 Corinthians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 6:19)
- Do you have drawings or plans of the Jerusalem temple at the time of Jesus? Maybe in your Bible? Look at them and discuss.
- If God is everywhere, why do we need special places for God to be present?
- What does it say about the Church to call it God’s temple?
- What does it say about you to say that you are the temple for Christ’s Spirit?