Comment from Ken
On our walk today, you may disagree with me, and if you do, let me know. As we walk, I know that our conversation has to be one sided – but I welcome your comments. Come on; let’s get on our walk.
Scripture John 2 : 18 – 22
18So the Jews answered and said to Him, “What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?”
19Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
20Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?”
21But He was speaking of the temple of His body. 22Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.
Look how large the snowflakes are today; they are huge. But isn’t it beautiful? Yes, I know it is spring, but while winter lingers, we should still see the beauty that we are surrounded by in New England as the seasons come and go. It was raining at first, just before you joined me for our walk; then it was just miserable and wet and cold. When the rain turned to snow, the weather and cold seemed far less difficult to bear. So come on along with me, and we can talk as we walk. How are you? I’m pleased to hear that you have avoided the colds that have infected some people. I’m feeling fine, thanks for asking, but Dale – Dale has her asthma again. She is better today but her cough still can be persistent. What is she doing this afternoon? She is making a chicken soup for tonight, the perfect meal for a day like today.
`During our last few walks, we have talked about the church. We talked about my church when I was growing up – The First Baptist Church of Melrose. The last time that we were together we talked about the church in Lebanon, New Hampshire that had been destroyed by fire. Today, I would like to talk to you about the temple in Jerusalem, and Jesus’s comments as he was nearing the end of his ministry.
The temple had to be incredibly beautiful and overwhelming. Built of huge stone and covered with marble and gold, it is said in Scripture that when you first saw the temple upon entering the fringes of the city, you had to be amazed by its beauty. The temple was the dwelling place of God the most high. Here was the center of the Judaic faith in a building. It was a place where a devoted pilgrim saw the impressive representation of their faith. Who would not be proud to be a part of such a structure? Who would not see that this was a place to be honored and held sacred by all?
When we walked before and I talked of my childhood church in Melrose after visiting it, I spoke of how it brought back wonderful memories, religious memories of my mother and father, of my sisters and brothers, and of those I knew who were members of that church. When Dale and I visited and while we were sitting there in the sanctuary, once more the huge organ pipes, the stained glass windows, and the size of the sanctuary overcame me. Worried about how that church could continue in this day, I carried inside a foreboding about it’s future.
Now if someone had said harshly to me that the church I once attended would be destroyed and then in three days would be rebuilt again, I would look at him or her and state that those words were some of the most foolish things I had ever heard. It would be impossible to rebuild that church in three days, and I would resent even the suggestion that it would be totally destroyed. Yet, this is exactly what our Savior said to those who questioned him about his beliefs and faith and their beloved most sacred temple. He said if “This temple were destroyed He would rebuild it in three days.” They looked at him with scorn and unbelief. It had taken forty-six years to build the temple, and if it were destroyed, this Jesus of Nazareth could rebuild it in three days? Preposterous!
Jesus was not talking about the physical temple in Jerusalem; He was talking about His own body. He knew His body, which was the dwelling place of God – the temple that is invisible, would not be destroyed but for a moment, and then God would rebuild it in three days. Jesus speaks of our bodies being the dwelling place of God; indeed, for our bodies hold the Spirit of God. Now here I am going to go off again and preach an old fashioned belief that our physical bodies are a temple of God. I am going to openly say that I believe many in our society, many of our young, adult people, are destroying their temples as surely as the temple of Jerusalem had been destroyed.
You must forgive me – No, I will say what I believe for I hold many people today have taken the body that God gave them and destroyed the beauty that was once there. Jesus says our body is a temple, and if that is so, we need to treat our bodies as a gift from God.
This morning I went to breakfast with Dale to a place where we had a bagel. Sitting across from us was a young man who had a pierced nose. The piercing hung down from inside his nose looking much like he needed to take a handkerchief to clean his nose. How many weddings I have performed where I have seen many of the guests and participants covered with blue and red tattoo ink. So often today, we see those who have taken the gift from God of a body that was beautiful and marred it by inks and metals that add not beauty and glory but take away the majesty of God’s greatest creation – the human being.
Now I am not so conservative to think it evil to have a tiny tattoo or to have studded earrings, but turning what is beautiful into something ugly is wrong. The teachings of Christ bring to us the belief that the body was not to be misused or defaced on purpose because it was the very dwelling place of God. Jesus teaches us to respect the human body and not abuse or misuse it.
They are going to deface Jesus’ body on that soon-to-come, terrible Friday. They are going to take that wonderful body, a body holding a sprit that spoke words of eternity, and they are going to cut it brutally with a whip, and they will put upon His head a cruel crown of thorns, and they will pound nails into His flesh. It will be a lifeless Jesus who hangs upon His cross when we remember His death. And then in but three days, our Savior’s body will be sanctified again. The body marred by human hands will be glorious in eternity.
And you and I on our walk today? We are going to end our walk in prayer! – O God, forgive us our days of mistreating our temple, the days of not realizing our body is YOUR HOLY TEMPLE. We pray with your Son’s death and resurrection that we and our loved ones may one day be made beautiful again, worthy of eternity because our savior forgave our foolishness, loved and died for us. In his name, Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.
Hope to see you at the beginning of the next week that we might walk together again. “May the Lord watch between me and thee while we are absent one from the other.”