“But I say to you that something greater than the temple is here.”
Jesus makes this alarming statement to 1st century Jews in Palestine and since their world in its quintessential perfection revolved around the Temple and Temple Worship, this contrary claim of His personal superiority would have elicited horrified gasps and raised skeptical eyebrows. None was greater than the One represented by the Temple. None. None that is unless that One who stood before them disguised as a peasant carpenter turned rabbi was in fact incognito “the Word made flesh which dwelt among them…” Emmanuel has come. Don’t miss that. Perhaps today by comparison it would be similar to someone randomly and emphatically stating to us….
“Hey guys, this rock we live upon which rotates at 1000 mph and hurtles around the sun and through space at 67,000 mph in concentric circles, surrounded by eons and infinity of expanding occupied and unoccupied space, stars, planets and other unimaginable formations and creations… Hey guys, all of this seen and unseen, known and unknown universe is actually totally contained within one of those itty-bitty, tiny corked glass bottles, and it sits upon God’s mantle, you know, similar to one of those ships in a bottle we might have on our mantle.”
My God is large.
My God is awesome.
Isaiah 40:21-31 (NASB)
Has it not been declared to you from the beginning?
Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
It is He who sits above the circle of the earth,
And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers,
Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain
And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.
He it is who reduces rulers to nothing,
Who makes the judges of the earth meaningless.
Scarcely have they been planted,
Scarcely have they been sown,
Scarcely has their stock taken root in the earth,
But He merely blows on them, and they wither,
And the storm carries them away like stubble.
“To whom then will you liken Me
That I would be his equal?” says the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes on high
And see who has created these stars,
The One who leads forth their host by number,
He calls them all by name;
Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power,
Not one of them is missing.
Why do you say, O Jacob, and assert, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the LORD,
And the justice due me escapes the notice of my God”?
The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth
Does not become weary or tired.
His understanding is inscrutable.
He gives strength to the weary,
And to him who lacks might He increases power.
Though youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,
Yet those who wait for the LORD
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.
Galatians 4:4-5 (NASB)
“But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.”
We fundamentally must always be ready to answer that most pertinent question and give account for the hope within us by credible evidence:
“Do I acknowledge and worship the One in whose presence I live and move and breath… who is greater, and who calls me to Himself?”
Something greater than the trappings of the day has come. We must never overlook what has happened. God has visited us incognito. “He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.” That’s ok. His Kingdom comes, His will be done. In my life. In Your life. In this moment this day.
By the Way. If my analogy is close to true, this means that God Himself entered into the corked bottle and became one of us to rescue us from wrath.
It occurs to me that when Jesus identifies Himself as greater than the temple, the right response would simply be, “Yes Lord, I see. I believe. I worship the Christ in spirit and truth.”