By Nick Batzig
The presence of God came to earth and dwelt among people in Jesus Christ.
We have all had experiences that we will likely never forget. For me, one of those moments happened when I was 24 years old, standing at the top of the French Alps, overlooking the seemingly endless miles of mountains. I’d never seen such a glorious sight in my life.
This is as close as I’ve come to imagining the disciples’ experience of certain events that occurred during their time with Christ—events that likely left an indelible mark on their minds and hearts. The transfiguration was such an experience for Peter, James, and John. Reflecting back on his witness to the ministry of Jesus, the apostle John wrote, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). John was astonished by what he’d witnessed on the Mount of Transfiguration.
In the Old Testament, the tabernacle was the dwelling place of God. Just as God’s people lived in tents, so God came to dwell with them in a tent. The tent dwelling of God in the tabernacle was a type of God’s ultimate dwelling with His people in the tabernacle of the flesh of Christ. Since God’s children partook of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise partook of flesh and blood. In Jesus, all the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily. This is the reason why Jesus could speak of His body as the temple that would be destroyed and raised back up in three days (John 2:19).
The temple was a more permanent dwelling place for God than the tabernacle had been, though it, too, was ultimately temporary. God had planned a greater and more intimate dwelling place. God planned on coming in the flesh. When Jesus disputed with the religious leaders in Israel, He bore witness to the fact that “something greater than the temple” had come (Matthew 12:6). He who filled the heavens and the earth—who could not be contained by a building—united a human nature to His divine nature, thereby becoming God and man in one person forever.
By entering into the world in the person of Jesus, God came to reestablish His presence with His people. Christ is greater than the tabernacle and temple. Because God dwelt fully in the Person of Christ, believers will dwell in His presence forever. By faith in Christ, we have direct access into the very presence of God.
Written by Nick Batzig