In My Father's House
John 2:16, "And He said to those who sold doves, "Take these things away! Do not make My Father's house a house of merchandise!"
To the surprise and even disappointment of many in Jerusalem, when Jesus arrived, his actions were not directed at the oppressive Roman army, but at the Temple itself. N. T. Wright comments: "Declaring it [the temple] corrupt he performed one of his greatest symbolic actions, overturning tables and driving out the money-changers, for a short but compelling time, preventing the normal business (which was the continual offering of sacrifices). This was no cleanup operation, but a sign that the Temple itself was under divine judgment. Jesus was challenging, in the name of Israel's God, the very place where God was supposed to live and do business with his people. As with most of his symbolic actions, Jesus backed this up with detailed teaching that made the same point: God would destroy the city and the Temple, and would vindicate not the Jewish nation as a whole, but Jesus himself and his followers."
Matthew 26:61 and Mark 14:58 tell us that at Jesus' trial false witnesses came forward and said, "This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days." When the high priest asked him to make an answer to the charge, Jesus said nothing. Matthew 27:40 and Mark 15:29 tell us that the crowds who passed by the cross while Jesus was dying mocked Jesus by saying, "You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from this cross." Most importantly, John 2:19 tells us that Jesus actually spoke words like these. He had just driven the sellers out of the temple. And the Jews asked him, "What sign have you to show us for doing this?" And Jesus answered, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." They come back, "It has taken 46 years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?" And John comments, "But he spoke of the temple of his body" (John 2:21). Here Jesus says, "You destroy the temple, and I will build it again in three days." But since we know that destroying the temple referred to his death and we also know (from John 10:18) that he was laying down his own life voluntarily, it is very likely that he would also say, "I will destroy this temple, and in three days build it again"—which is what he was accused of saying.
John Piper explains what Jesus meant by the destruction of the temple of his body and raising it up in three days: "Jesus meant: When I die, the temple dies. When I am destroyed, the temple is destroyed. This whole system -- all these sacrifices, all this blood flowing to make atonement for sins, all this priestly activity surrounding the holy place where God's presence dwells -- it all ends when I die. You destroy me and in dying I destroy the temple."
Jesus Takes the Place of Everything in the Temple!
Piper continues, "This is why the curtain in the temple tore in two as Jesus died. It was a token of destruction. The walls were coming down. Jesus himself was taking the place of everything in the temple. Jesus became our one and only high priest who lives forever to make intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25). So the temple priesthood was "destroyed." Jesus offered himself and his own blood once for all to make an eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:12, 25–28; 10:10–12). So all the animal sacrifices of the temple are "destroyed." When Jesus made himself the mercy seat of the temple (Romans 3:25), and made his own blood the blood of the covenant (Mark 14:24), the glory of God—the old shekinah glory of the temple—came down and rested on him and raised him from the dead (Romans 6:4). Peter says, "God raised him from the dead and gave him glory" (1 Peter 1:21). He is, as James says (2:1), "the Lord of glory." And so the temple is no longer the place where you go to see the glory of God. Jesus is place. Destroyed and in three days raised up—Jesus is where you go to see the glory of God.
"And so the temple in Jerusalem is "destroyed." We have a new temple, a new priest, a new sacrifice, a new access to glory and fellowship with God. So when John the apostle has a vision of heaven in Revelation 21:22–23, he says, "And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb."
"What Jesus meant when he said, "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up," was that he himself was taking the place of the temple—by dying for sin once for all, and by rising from the dead to reign as the everlasting priest and Lord of glory. When I die, the temple system dies. And when I rise, I am the temple. I am the sacrifice for sins. I am the priest and go-between with God. I am the presence and radiance of his glory. The temple is finished."
Father's House is Finally, Fully and Forever Manifested IN CHRIST -- John 2:16
This is demonstrated by the process Jesus uses as He enters the temple:
- There is an Exposure of the Sinful. He declares that the temple has become a den of thieves – Matthew 21:13
- There is an Expulsion of the Secular. He cast out the money changers – Matthew 21:12
- There is an Exclusion of the Secondary. He turned things upside down in order to get them right side up— Sacrifices, tithes, temple stuff was the secondary. Helping, healing and hosannas are the main things and this began to happen only when God was manifestly present in the meeting house. The temple had become a place where convenient worship was offered; where shortcuts were sought; where priorities were inverted.
- There is an Expectation that is Satisfied -- Jesus’ didn’t come to cleanse the temple in order to clear it of its religious clutter and commercialization and resume services, but to consummate its type and close it forever! God’s presence hadn’t been in the temple in Jerusalem in centuries. Jesus was the satisfaction of all the Old Testament expectations, the fulfillment of the Temple type and the True Temple of God. He is the only Person in which we can meet with God, worship God, and be touched by God!
As Jesus enters the scene you see people peddling it. Men were getting rich because others needed forgiveness. People sold their wares, that others bought to obtain God’s blessing. This is picture of the economy of religion. Religion says forgiveness and righteousness and blessing were just a matter of doing, earning, and paying your way to a place in Father's House. But God doesn’t accept cash for forgiveness. Righteous blood needs to be shed for your righteousness. And because he loves us, he sent his Son. And his Son came down, entered the temple, and turned the economy of religion upside down. Cages broken, birds flying, animals running, coins bouncing on the floor, people shouting, others running away. He turned it around, and replaced it with himself.
Jesus is the True Temple, the House of God, the place where heaven and earth meet!
Graham Cooke writes, "The desire and design of God is to have a habitation among His people. It is not to visit occasionally when circumstances permit and conditions are fulfilled. His desire is a place to live in a Church that has done everything in her power to attract her beloved."
The ultimate design of Jesus' incarnation was to recover God's right of occupancy in man. Man was made to be a house for God. He was to experience and reciprocate the love of God, express the light of God, and extend the life of God. He was designed to enjoy intimacy with God and exhibit the image of God.
The Spirit-filled Church -- the people of God -- IN CHRIST -- not a material building, but a spiritual building of living stones, is the NOW house and life of Jesus on the earth. Through the people of God the many-sided facets of God’s wisdom; His love and grace and mercy, as it is localized in Christ and personalized in the Holy Spirit, is manifest to men, angels and demons. The Spirit-filled Church is a people of ministry and not just religious activity.
So what is it that God desires of you and me? He wants us to move into and live in the perfect dream house now with increasing levels of glory and enjoyment to come and continue forever!
God's desire is to be living transparently in us, among a fallen race of people, so that we can be Enjoying the Presence of God; Re-presenting His Likeness; Sharing His Heart of love; Serving from the fullness of His grace and truth, by the Holy Spirit’s power; Living for His glory; and longing to move into other people, making their hearts His home, until the earth is filled with the glory of His presence!
As was demonstrated in the incarnation of Christ, so God's desire and design for His people throughout all ages is that Father's Life is Imparted to us as was done in the Son. Father's Heart is Revealed through a Son; His Love is Enjoyed by the Son; and then His Life is Multiplied through a Son.
Ephesians 3:19 --Amplified Bible: "That you may really come to know practically, through experience for yourselves, the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge without experience; that you may be filled through all your being unto all the fullness of God – i.e. may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself!"
From the beginning of the world, God's desire and design was to have a bride to marry, a house to dwell in, a family to enjoy, and a visible body through which to express Himself. All of these images -- the bride, the house, the family, and the body — point to the ultimate final and forever House of God -- The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, which is from Him, through Him, and, ultimately, to Him (Rom. 11:36).
At the conclusion of God's unfolding drama of redemption, the Father obtains a bride for His Son by the Spirit. He then builds a house in which He, the Son, and the bride dwell together in the Spirit. This perfect dream house constitutes a building, a bride, and a body.
Living in our Father's House NOW, with the best future, final, and forever house still ahead, is incredible GOOD NEWS -- GLORY!
O the glory of Your Presence, We Your temple give You reverence; Come and rise to your rest and be blessed by our praise as we glory in Your embrace as Your Presence now fills this Place!
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