Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Rebuilding the Temple
Matthew 27:27-44 (ESV) Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor's headquarters, and they gathered the whole battalion before him.  And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him,  and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!"  And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head.  And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him.  As they went out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. They compelled this man to carry his cross.  And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull),  they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall, but when he tasted it, he would not drink it.  And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots.  Then they sat down and kept watch over him there.  And over his head they put the charge against him, which read, "This is Jesus, the King of the Jews."  Then two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left.  And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads  and saying, "You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross."  So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying,  "He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him.  He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, 'I am the Son of God.' "  And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way. “Let him come down now from the cross and we will believe him.” There is such macabre irony in the death of Jesus. The world just cannot understand. To this day it refuses to understand. Jesus told them to destroy the temple, and He would rebuild it in three days. Now they are destroying it. Little do they know. They want him to come down from the cross, then they will believe him. How little do they know, if he came down from the cross there would be nothing left to believe. We are a dense race. It happens today. People still don’t want to believe Jesus on his terms. They want to make him a puppet fulfilling their fantasies. He won’t. He goes to the cross. He lets them destroy the temple. It must be destroyed, so he can rebuild it and give them something to believe. In threedays it will be rebuilt, he will rise, he will live. What do they want? One wonders what they would have believed had he come down off the cross? That would have been nothing but earthly power. Jesus had that and more. He could have been the messiah, the king they wanted. But he knew they needed more, and so do we. Today you see the same stupidity carried out in fantasy literature that waits for Christ’s return to be an earthly king. Or you see it as people demand to be healed of this or that before they will believe, or lose what little faith they have when their suffering is not relieved. We want to belive in the only thing we really know, earthly power. Not Christ, He knows what we really need. We need him to die. We need him to forgive our sins with his blood. We need him to rebuild the temple in three days. And in three days he does. The end has come, the eschaton is upon us. Death is defeated, and we have life in Jesus.