READ Luke 21:5-6
When God called His people to build a temple He gave them the gift of a solid place of worship. Replacing the Tent of Meeting from their wilderness days, God promises to come and dwell among them in a temple. God lays out the plans for this house of worship and each room resounds with spiritual meaning.
Using 1 Kings 6 as your guide, make a few notes about what each of the following rooms would be used for:
Holy of holies:
There is the holy of holies, where selected priests will present the requests of the people of God before His presence and make sacrifices for the forgiveness of their sins. There is an altar, representing God’s willingness to show mercy and forgiveness. And there are outer courts, where even the unclean (non-Jews, who are called Gentiles, the infirm, and women who are menstruating) are welcome. And while sitting in these outer courts, where the poor widow has just given her tithe, Jesus tells the disciples that it will all be dismantled; He tells them that the house of worship which has become the Jewish spiritual home will come tumbling down.
Though the disciples do not know it now, Jesus is indicating to them that what is about to happen – His soon-coming death and resurrection – is about to upend everything they know about worship. In the disciples’ minds, the worst-case scenario is that the temple will physically crumble before their eyes, but Jesus is speaking about a much more profound shift in redemptive history than that! Jesus is the presence of God among His people.* Through His death, He is about to put an end to the sacrificial system of the temple because He will be the final, better sacrifice for the people of God. No longer will there be a holiest place where only priests are welcome, but all who put their faith in Him will have access to God as priests. No longer will the unclean be confined to the outer courts, but all will be welcomed through the washing of His Word. No longer will the temple serve as the exclusive, rooted place for the people of God, but through Jesus Christ all who believe will have access to God by the Spirit of God. Jesus is not just saying that the temple in which they are sitting will be destroyed (though it eventually is), but that the construct or worship as they know it is about to be dismantled – for the better.
*Theological fun fact: the theological term for this is “Incarnation.”
Spend some time thanking God for access to Him through Jesus Christ. Thank Him for His Spirit, which invites all who believe in the salvific work of Jesus Christ into union with Him.