Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for March 8th, 2015

Gospel Lesson:  St. John 2: 13-25, The Cleansing of the Temple

Sermon Text:  verse 21:  “But he was speaking about the temple of his body.”

When our Lord refers to himself as “this Temple”, note that it is not “this body”.   The Temple is one in which the Lord dwells, so Jesus said, “this Temple”. Jesus is the Temple and in three days He raised it up.” 1 Cor. 5: 1: For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. that is, eternal, durable, forever (Mark 14: 58).  When Jesus was on trial for His crucifixion, one of the accusations was quite alike to today’s Gospel, We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.’  (Mark 14: 58).  Again in the night of betrayal, when the disciples did not understand Jesus’ pronouncement He was leaving, Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. John 14:23  And again that same night in response  to the same apostolic fear, the Lord said to them, and us:  “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? John 14:2  .  The Apostle Peter wrote to the congregations of the diaspora, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”(1 Peter 2: 5). The apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it” (1 Corinthians 12: 27The apostle Paul wrote to the super spiritual Corinthians, who were committing the sin of heresy  and the heresy of sin, they  were so spiritual what they did in the body did not matter, such as hooking up with prostitutes: 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.” 1 Corinthians 3:17  No should be a temple, no would be a temple, no you got to be a temple, no you better be a better Christian so you are the Lord’s temple, not you should be the Church,  it was the flat out indicative statement of God’s grace:   you ARE  THAT TEMPLE; you are the  Body of Christ. 

For the first centuries of the Church, the Church, the Temple of the Lord’s Body, was being built all over the Roman empire and without actual church buildings.  The Altar was there, as was the Baptismal font and the pulpit without the physical objects, for the physicality of the Church was there:  This is my body, this is my blood, as you are the body of Christ, you are the Temple of the Holy Spirit. The Temple was built without human hands but for human hands to receive His  Sacraments, hands lifted or fold in prayer, hands to help the neighbor in need. On a Sunday we don’t go to Church, we go as His Church to His Word and Sacraments, to the Divine Service. 

When Solomon built the Temple in Jerusalem, the King and the people of  Israel brought into the Holy of Holies the Ark of the Covenant for within the Ark was the covenant, the 10 Commandments.  The boundaries of the Temple are love of God and love of neighbor as detailed in the 10 commandments.  The cleansing of the Temple is confession and absolution, the sacrament of  repentance for what we have done and left undone in thought, word and deed.  The word Lent means “spring”, Lent is the springtime of the Church and homes used to have spring cleaning. The Jews wanted to know by what sign Jesus was cleansing the temple.  “But was there a need for a sign before putting a stop to their evil practices and freeing the house of God from such dishonor? Was not the fact that he had such great zeal for the house of God the greatest sign of his virtue?”  When we go the doctor we are patients, but when it comes to trespass and evil, we must be impatients.  Zeal for His Father’s House consumed Jesus, it ate Him up.  It would consume Him. On another occasion the Lord was asked by what sign He was speaking and working, An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.”  That is the sign of the Cross, as Jonah was in belly of the beast for 3 days and 3 nights for not preaching God’s Word, Jesus would die, descend into hell itself because He preached God’s Word, the Father’s House, the Temple.  The Temple in Jerusalem was for the sacrifice of animals for the forgiveness of sins.  Jesus cast out all the sacrificial animals, for behold, He is the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.  His Temple is His sacrificed once and for all for the Temple for us.  He is the Temple not made by human hands who cleanses the Temple. 

As for those Jews who believed in Him because of His signs, not for Himself, for what He was offering: Himself for the life of the world:  His body, the fullness of the Godhead pleased to dwell in Christ Jesus.   The Old Adam knows how to look out his own interests. Jesus knows what is in man.   There are many in the Church who look after their own interests and not for the interests of Christ and the brothers and sisters. When Christians no longer  love the Temple the Lord raised up from the dead, from our ashes and sin and sorrow, and the resurrection is  grace, sheer gift, that is, the Lord Himself,  then people are busy making new blueprints of the way they think His House should be:  a mall, a bank, a club.  Then the Lord’s House is reduced to a house of cards or a house of trade and that is plainly wrong. 

The Lord has called and baptized His Temple, us, to look out for the interests of Jesus Christ and others (Philippians 2: 4 and 21).   Jesus did not look to His own interests, but in perfect submission, in perfect islam, as only true Man and true God could perfectly submit, He saved us and will save us.  The Law is perfect and only the One who is perfect perfectly submitted to the Law and fulfilled it.  He alone revives us, cleanses us. This is our Father’s home…from which there are many a runaway son or daughter.  The Lord cast out trade from the Temple, but He does not drive sinners in by a whip.  False prophets, evangelists and christs do so drive by a whip of their own religious rules and accompanied  by the magnetism of their legalistic personas. See Mohammed. It is spiritual terror.  The Law of God can whip us into external shape;   but the draw of His perfect sacrifice that alone draws all men to Himself. His Cross is our Passion, we preach Christ and Him crucified, no longer is the Law of God the center of the Temple, Christ is the holy of holies. We need to be eaten up by what is going on in the Church and that is why we left to form the mission. St. Augustine’s encouragement is for us today:

“Let the zeal for God’s house consume every Christian wherever he or she is a member…. In your house you busy yourself in trying to prevent things going wrong. In the house of God, where salvation is offered, ought you to be indifferent? … Do you have a friend? Admonish him gently; a wife or husband? Admonish them too…. Do what you are able, according to your station.”

His draw is His Cross, and His Cross is the sign, the three days, of the Passover of the Lamb of God, of His love and mercy for the life of the world, your life, and His passion is our passion. “..whoever wants to call upon God, regardless of where he may be in the world, must turn his face heavenward to Christ, not to Jerusalem or Mecca or a saint no matter how spiritual, and thus come to Christ, the real and true temple. For Christ is the proper mercy seat (Romans 3: 25), with whom sheer mercy, love and kindness is found.” (adapted from Luther’s sermon on today’s Gospel reading)

 

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: