Recognizing the Messiah
“So the Jews said to him, ‘What sign do you show us for doing these things?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ The Jews then said, ‘It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?’ But he was speaking about the temple of his body. When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believe the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.”
- John 2:18-22
Since the fall of Adam and Eve in the garden, the people of God had been awaiting the Messiah. The nation of Israel looked to that day when the Lord would come and live among his people, a day when his kingdom would be established in this world. Ironically, though they had looked forward to that day and prayed fervently for the Messiah’s coming, they did not recognize the Son of God when he finally came.
In our reading for today, Jesus had just cleared the temple of the money-changers and all their animals for sale. There was certainly great confusion and chaos as these people and animals ran from the temple. The leaders were dumbfounded as their preparations for the Passover were being thwarted. Why would Jesus disrupt all that they had done and practiced through the years?
With the coming of the Messiah to dwell among his people as a man, everything had to change! For years, the temple was the place to meet with the Lord, to worship, and to make offerings unto him. Now, the temple was not the dwelling place of God; Jesus was the dwelling place of God. Sadly, the people were so consumed with how things had been that they missed the presence of God standing right before them. God was made manifest through the person of Jesus. Jesus revealed the Father in everything that he did: preaching, teaching, healing, feeding the multitudes, and living among his people.
In revealing the Father, Jesus also revealed the hearts of mankind. Were they truly seeking God in his temple, or were they going through the motions? Jesus’ actions and words that day were intended to shake them from their slumber and to help them to look beyond what had been to what was right before their eyes. He challenged them to destroy the temple and he would rebuild it in three days. Their response revealed that they believed he was speaking of the temple building, when Jesus was actually speaking of his body, the true dwelling place of God.
How do we miss the person and work of Jesus today? How do we get consumed with the way things are or the way we think things should be and completely miss the invitation to experience the Lord? Are we missing the work of the Lord as it happens before our very eyes? The season of Lent is designed to shake us from our slumber, from all the ways that we start gliding through life and the practice of our Christian faith. May we turn from what was or how we think things should be and embrace the person of Jesus Christ as he is. He won’t always work according to our plans, but his plans will always be very good. Reflection:
How are your Lenten disciplines awakening you to the presence of the Lord, the work of the Lord, and the invitation of the Lord to come deeper into the knowledge, love, and worship of him?
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