By Amy Whiting
“Destroy this temple, replied Jesus, and I’ll raise it up again in three days”
In reading this passage I couldn’t help but think of our own Christchurch temple – our cathedral. 18 months on and the debate still rages, from church-goers and pre-Christians alike…phrases like “it’s an icon” but more than that “it’s the soul of the city” evoke the depth of meaning this building holds for many.
The same shock echoed with the original hearers of Jesus’ words – for the Jewish people the temple wasn’t just a special building – but “the centre of everything; the centre, they believed of the whole world”…the place where heaven met earth. The place that housed the presence of God and where sacrifices were made to enable relationship with God.
In what would of felt like a bolt out of the blue Jesus turns their world (and tables on their head!) he boldly says and demonstrates that it is no longer about a building…the way of accessing God is about to radically change – it will no longer be based around a building, a priest who serves as the intermediary offering your sacrifice to God. He will assume that role - His body the temple, the one who becomes the sacrifice to take away the sins of the world – the one who once and for all reconciles man and God. It made no sense at the time – but as the passage records, after his death and resurrection the disciples remembered his words and believed.
Sometimes I wonder if we forget that we are now the temple of the Holy Spirit – that we are living, breathing, walking around people through whom others can come into contact with their Creator. That 99% of the ministry of the church happens outside of any church building.