Anglican Morning Devotion for 16 October 2021 Anno Domini
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion of Churches
“Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? 19Jesus answered and said unto them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? 21But he spake of the temple of his body.”
(JOHN 2:18-21; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
We may have heard varying explanations as to what Jesus meant by His comment above, but I feel that the Scripture itself gives a full and sufficient explanation thereof: “But he spake of the temple of his body.”
Solomon’s Temple was an intricately constructed building of great beauty. Every section and every article of furniture possessed its Holy purpose. It was a landmark of unsurpassed beauty and design. It could well be compared to the perfection of the first Adam created for the Garden at Eden. The Second Temple (also known as Zerubbabel’s Temple) constructed with the approbation of both Cyrus the Great and Darius I, was a thing of beauty as well, but nothing to compare with the first. Perhaps we might compare that Second Temple to the lesser glory of man following Adam’s Fall.
Following the Advent and ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ, there was no further purpose for the Temple constructed of Stone and artwork, and, so, it was destroyed by General Titus in 70 A.D. No longer is the Temple made of Stone, wood, brass, and linens, but is now built up in Christ of hearts and souls who are His chosen gems and stones. The Church is the Body of Christ, and there is a soul-shaped void for each beloved of His calling therein.
The true Temple of God was sacrificed on a crude cross outside the gate of the city – “We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle. 11For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. 12Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. 13Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. 14For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. 15By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” (Hebrews 13:10-15) His body was torn and bruised for us, and we are His Body on earth to stand as an example of the purpose of His Temple.
Every Body needs the Spirit of Life. Without that Spirit, there can be no life. What Spirit is it that gives life to the Church – to its Body? Is it not the Holy Spirit of our Lord that gives life to all things, and most certainly to His Body on earth (the Church). Every building needs a foundation and an animating purpose – so the Church!
“According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. 11For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. 14If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. 16Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” (1 Corinthians 3:10-17) The collective Communion of the Church represents the whole Body of Christ; yet, each soul that constitutes the structure is animated by the same Spirit and must be cleansed with regularity of conviction and repentance.
You will recall that our Lord cleansed the Temple at Jerusalem at the beginning and end of His ministry; and all His work and ministry between those moments were a continual cleansing. So must the Church, and each of her souls, be continually drawn back to that Ancient Landmark of God’s Word and to that Spirit of Love which only Christ can convey to His elect. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. 2Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. 3There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. 4Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, 5Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. 6His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof. 7The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.” (PSALMS 19:1-7)