More than the temple
Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, “As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.”
- Luke 21:5-6
Jesus’ disciples commented on the beauty of the temple. This temple had been built by Herod the Great as one of the most magnificent places of worship in the world. Herod invested tremendous financial resources into this temple to consolidate his reign in Judea and earn a meaningful legacy. But this temple had a problem.
The temple was supposed to be a place where God’s people could connect with him. They could repent of their sins and receive forgiveness in the temple. They could express gratitude to God in the temple. They could cry out to God for help and be heard in the temple. This was possible because they believed God inhabited the temple in a particular way. Though God was present in all the earth, the temple provided worshippers with special access to him.
Now, here’s a problem: the temple was never intended itself to be an object of devotion. God wanted his people to be loyal to him, not the temple. The temple couldn’t replace relationship with God. The temple could become an idol.
In Jesus, we see God himself challenging his disciples to abandon their high esteem for the temple and, instead, to connect with God directly. The temple will collapse eventually, but a relationship with Jesus can last forever.
Last week we received an encouragement to seek God’s kingdom first. There is an eternal benefit that comes from focusing our affections on eternal things.
The Lord himself wants to connect with you today. Don’t be distracted by the things that shimmer and shine around you. Place your devotion on Christ himself: the one who made you, loved you, rescued you, and gave you purpose.
Take some time today to reflect on God:
- What’s beautiful about God?
- What gifts would you like to give God?
- How is the Lord greater than the other things that fill your vision?
- What do you have to be grateful to Jesus for today?
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