The “wow” factor of the temple was part of God’s plan to impress the world, like the intent of any of the world’s most impressive buildings today. Except, God had more in mind, namely, to attract people to something more spectacular: his love for all sinners.
By the time Jesus came, the temple had been destroyed and rebuilt. And a few decades after Jesus rose from the dead and ascended to heaven, the temple was destroyed again. Perfect plan!
God’s design for saving sinners was never meant to be a place but a person. Jesus. The Old Testament temple provided a temporary teaching tool intended to instruct believers about the greater temple. Jesus himself.
Jesus is not a place where priests make sacrifices. He is the sacrifice. Jesus is not a place where believers worship. He is worshipped. Jesus is not a place where people visit. He is a person with whom believers have a relationship (Hebrews 10).
He was “destroyed” at his crucifixion and “rebuilt” when he rose from the dead (John 2:19).
Yet the temple of God is still here on this earth. It’s a franchise of sorts, belonging to Jesus bringing people to Jesus. Like Jesus, it’s not a building and not a place. It’s a bunch of people: all believers who are “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit” (Ephesians 2:20-22).
Just as the devout believers in Jerusalem must have been awed when they laid eyes on the temple constructed so silently without their modern tools of iron, we marvel today as God builds his temple, “the communion of saints” (all believers). This Holy Christian Church is a house not made with human hands, but built silently and supernaturally through the ages, as the Holy Spirit breathes the words of forgiveness and blows the flame of faith.
And so dead, useless sinners become living stones placed and positioned just right in God’s temple to worship him, serve others, and endure forever. We who are living stones don’t just come to church, we are the Church. We are today’s temple, believing, worshipping, and attracting those who seek God.
PRAYER: O divine designer God, how magnificent your temple—the ancient building, and the sacrifice Jesus Christ, and your living stones and saints including me! I will worship you today! Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION: Here is a 5-minute video depicting the Old Testament temple, with narration from the Bible in 1 Kings 6 and 7 https://youtu.be/oiF-wObznds.