Body + Temple = You

19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So, glorify God in your body.                                                                                                      1 Corinthian 6:19-20 ESV

Back in King Salmon days the temple stood on a hill in Jerusalem so everyone could see it. Fast forward the temple was destroyed, the New Testament author start to use it as a metaphor for Gods people. But what has the old building to do with us today? Why is the building so important for the New Testament author?

The temple was a place their people could be in God presence, preparing them to become that holy presence on earth. Like God’s plan was from the beginning to dwell with his people.   If you identify as follower of Jesus, your role is the same.Your body is a temple – God’s temple. What does it mean for us today, so let unpack this and start from the beginning of the bible.

The first contact with the temple language is with the first image-bearers in the garden of Eden who is Adam and Eve. We are told that they were created in God’s image. Image of ancient gods took often form of idols placed in ancient temple. The message of Genesis 1-2 is clear: God created humanity to dwell with him and bear his image to the world. In the beginning was no need of a temple structure. All of humanity lived in harmony with each other and God.

As we know this nice picture doesn’t last long before the first humans choose to rebel     (Gen. 3) and God threw them out of the garden of Eden. Will God now restore his presence among them after they rebelled against him?

Let see, we jump forward to the Exodus story. Here is the story about the people of Israel that have been in slavery for 400 years, have been disconnect from their identity as God’s image-bearers. Moses led the people out of Egypt into the wilderness, God commanded them to build the tabernacle. This tent structure should serve as a place for God to dwell among his people (Exod. 25:8). Almost like they were in the garden of Eden.

Jumping some hundred years forwards again. The tabernacle was replaced by a permanent structure that the King Solomon built on a hill in Jerusalem, the temple. This was called “a house of prayer for all nations” (Isa. 56:7). Through the temple God not only showed his love and care for his people but for anyone from other culture who would come there to worship him. Has God finally restored what was destroyed in the garden? Nope.

The people rebelled again against God like Adam and Eve did. The result of it was the temple was destroyed and the people in exiled from the land. Many years late, some people come back to Jerusalem and build up the temple again. But it went quickly into corruption again.    Looks like it is impossible for people to live with God.

The gospel writer John describes Jesus, he writes “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). The special word he uses for “dwelt” is the same Greek verbal word to describe the tabernacle that Moses made in Exodus. Matthewin his gospel his quotes from Isaiah 7:14 he claims that Jesus is Immanuel which mean “God with us”. So, John and Matthew are clear Jesus is God with his people.

In the gospel of John Jesus referring to his own body as a temple, saying that it will be destroyed but rebuild in three days (John 2:19-21.) When Jesus died on the cross the curtain in the temple torn in half. The author of Hebrews tells us thatJesus was the prefect sacrifice, he did something the temple in Jerusalem never could do. He made a way for God to not only dwell with his people but for God to dwell in his people. Jesus shows us what it really means to live as God’s temple, allowing God’s presence to dwell within us, so it is no need for a physical building anymore. 

What does it mean for our bodies to be temple? If you are a follower of Jesus, it means a lot to be a temple. Do like Jesus,take time with your heavenly Father, understand who God isin you and who you are in him. Because you are carrying the presence of God with you wherever you go and wherever you are and wherever you do in this world. It is through you God can reach people around you because He lives inside of you. And you are loved and created in his image. Do you allow God richly to dwell in you and through you? So, God can reach his people?

In the last book in the bible, John writs about a vision ofheaven (rev. 21-22). He sees a new city, but something is missing in this city. There is no temple in the city. And there is no need of I either. Because Jesus is right there with his people. As we look to the end of the story, what we lost in the beginning is now restored. God is once again dwelling with his people. 

/ David Mellesdal

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