March 23, 2015

Scripture Reading: Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29

I thank you that you have answered me
   and have become my salvation.
The stone that the builders rejected
   has become the chief cornerstone.
This is the Lord’s doing;
   it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day that the Lord has made;
   let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Save us, we beseech you, O Lord!
   O Lord, we beseech you, give us success! — Psalm 118:21-25

Jesus was most likely skilled in carpentry. When he said in John 2:18, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ He probably was more aware than most in his audience of how absurd such a challenge was in practical terms.  He, of course, was not talking about the building of wood and stone that was visible to the crowd. Jesus was actually teaching something far more radical. He was saying that the presence of God through his death and resurrection was being moved outside the structure of the temple and into the hearts and minds of people everywhere. He was challenging the religious leaders of the day to step out of their comfort zone and the safety of the temple walls.

In point of fact, 20 or so years before the book of John was written the temple had been destroyed by the Romans. During that same time, the followers of Christ had continued the process of taking his message from Jerusalem to much of the known world.  These Christians still faced great persecution and hardship but they had heard the call and acted. The writer of John may have been reminding them of this history as encouragement in their present situation.

Two thousand years later we still need that same encouragement. It is so easy to get caught up in the everyday challenges of being the church, we can forget our role in being the Body of Christ in the world today. Holy Week exist to remind us.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.