True Temple - Jesus

OVERVIEW - The Gospel of John presents Jesus himself as the True and Final Temple in which the glory of Yahweh now residesJohn 2:13-22

Crucifixion - Photo by Matthew T Rader on Unsplash
In Jerusalem, the disciples learned that Jesus is the
True Temple of God. With the arrival of the Messiah, the era of God “dwelling” in man-made buildings in Jerusalem came to an end. After the Passover, Christ “went up to Jerusalem” and visited the Temple, where he observed financial transactions taking place in the “Court of the Gentiles.” - [Photo by Matthew T Rader on Unsplash].

His visitation to the Temple complex resulted in the incident when Jesus “cleansed the Temple” by expelling the money changers:
  • (John 2:13-16) – “And near was the Passover of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And he found in the temple them that were selling oxen and sheep and doves, also the money-changers sitting. And making a scourge out of rushes, all of them thrust he forth out of the temple, both the sheep and the oxen, and the money-changers’ small coins poured he forth, and the tables he overturned; and to them who were selling the doves, he said, Remove these things from here! Be not making the house of my Father a house of merchandise.
The Temple was the center of the Jewish faith, especially its required rituals. The hostile reaction to Jesus illustrates the words from the prologue of the Gospel of John: “He came to his own and those who were his own did not receive him. From the start, the leaders of the Temple opposed him. In this present incident, they sent representatives to ask for a sign that would demonstrate his authority to act as he did.

Jesus was in the “Temple,” translating the Greek noun hieron for the entire temple complex. However, in verse 19, the term naos is found on the lips of Jesus, not hieron - (“Take down this sanctuary and, in three days, will I raise it”). The latter term refers to the sanctuary proper within the larger complex, the “Holy of Holies,” the inner sanctum where the presence of Yahweh dwelt.

After his resurrection, the disciples remembered the passage from the Psalms quoted in the passage.  In the Hebrew Bible, it has a past tense verb, “The zeal of your house consumed me." However, here, the tense is future, “The zeal of your house will consume me” - (Psalm 69:9 – “Because zeal for thy house hath eaten me up”).
  • (John 2:17-22) – “His disciples remembered that it was written: The zeal of thy house consumes me. The Jews, therefore, answered: What sign do you point out to us in that, these things you are doing? Jesus answered, and said: Take down this sanctuary and in three days will I raise it. The Jews, therefore, said: In forty and six years was this sanctuary built. And you, in three days, will raise it! But he was speaking about the sanctuary of his body. When, therefore, he had been raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that this he had been saying; and they believed in the Scripture, and in the word that Jesus had spoken.
The Greek verb rendered “consume” or katesthiō is a compound of the verb “eat” (esthiō) and the preposition kata or “down.” The compound form intensifies the sense “eat” so that it becomes “eat up, to consume.”  Thus, his zeal for his “Father's house” demonstrated in the “cleansing” of the court contributed to his arrest, trial, and execution - (Matthew 26:60-6127:40Mark 14:5815:29).

Jesus declared that if they destroyed “this sanctuary” he would raise it “after three days.”  His opponents took these words literally, and therefore, they misunderstood their meaning. John added a comment so his readers would not make the same mistake: “But he was speaking of the sanctuary [naos] of his body.”
Thus, Jesus declared himself the True Sanctuary, the naos of God. His opponents would destroy “this sanctuary” when they put him to death.

The Gospel of John presents Jesus as the True and Greater Temple. Unlike the man-made structure in Jerusalem, this one can never be destroyed. He is the permanent dwelling place of the glory of Yahweh.

In him, the presence of God no longer is restricted to a structure in Jerusalem, and his glory is seen in the face of Jesus throughout the earth forevermore.


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