Day 16

One Greater than the Temple

from the reading plan

John 1:1-3, John 1:14, Luke 2:25-32, Matthew 12:3-8, John 2:14-22, Matthew 26:57-66, Matthew 27:39-40, Mark 15:33-39

We have all had experiences that we will likely never forget. For me, one of those moments happened when I was twenty-four 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 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—the tent dwelling of God in the tabernacle was a type of God’s ultimate dwelling with His people through the flesh of Christ. Since God’s children are made of flesh and blood, He Himself became flesh and blood. The fullness of God dwells fully in Jesus (Colossians 1:19). 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).

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). By entering into the world in the person of Jesus, God came to reestablish His presence with His people, dwelling among us as the one who is fully human and fully divine. 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 to the very presence of God.

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