NT Connect: 1 Corinthians 3:10-17; Ephesians 2:1-22
Weekly Reading: 1 Kings 5-9
The New Temple
One of the marvelous things about our God is his desire to be with his people. Before the foundations of the world, his intention has been to dwell among us. Here is the most powerful being in all the world, the creator and sustainer of the universe, who depends on nothing else for his existence, and he desires to dwell with us. He does not just want to visit or to talk for a bit, but his intention is to dwell with his people – to live among us.
We see the Lord’s desire to be with his people in the construction of the Temple. God called upon Solomon to build this Temple in order that he might dwell in the midst of his people. Heaven is God’s dwelling place (1 Kings 8:30, 43), and yet he chose to dwell with his people. Solomon acknowledges how astounding this is for God: “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built!” (1 Kings 8:27). In the Temple, God would dwell among his people.
Jesus connects his own life and ministry with the Temple. As God himself, he came to dwell among his people (John 1:14), and he declares about himself, “Something greater than the Temple is here” (Matthew 12:6). Jesus makes this link to the Temple even clearer when the religious leaders ask for a sign, and he responds, “Destroy this Temple, and in three days, I will raise it up” (John 2:19). John explains to us, his readers, “He was speaking about the temple of his body” (John 2:21). Jesus is a new and better Temple because he has come to dwell among his people as one of us.
This connection between Jesus and the Temple does not end with his ascension. God still dwells among his people, but he now does so through the body of Christ, his church. Christ Jesus remains the Temple, and as we are united to him by faith, we become part of that Temple. Paul describes Christ as the foundation (1 Corinthians 3:11) and the cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20) of this new Temple. In Christ, the church becomes the Temple where God lives by his Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16; Ephesians 2:21-22).
What does it mean for us that the people of God are now the Temple of God? (1) We need each other. Peter tells us that we are are “living stones” being built together into the Temple (1 Peter 2:5). A single stone does not a temple make. We need the church to fulfill our role as the Temple. (2) The Temple was a place of worship, and so as the Temple, God’s people are made for his glory. We exist to worship the Lord. (3) As the Temple, God’s people are to make him known around the world. Solomon prayed that the Temple would exist in order “that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other” (1 Kings 8:60). May this be both our prayer and calling today.