Posts Tagged ‘Temple’

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)


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Text:  1 Corinthians 6: 19-20

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.

 What happens in a temple?  What was the Temple in Jerusalem all about? The Temple was for prayer, praise and thanksgiving.  The Temple in Jerusalem was for sacrifices for the atonement of sin and wrong.  The Temple in Jerusalem, the first one built by King Solomon, was the place of the Ark of the Covenant, that is, the Temple in Jerusalem was for the Word of God: preached and taught. The Temple was for the Word of God  that is central and crucial:  God’s Name. As the LORD said, the Temple was the place of God’s Name so that many would call upon the Name of the Lord and be saved.  The Temple, the place for the Word of God, was the time and place for saving doctrine making saving faith.   So the Temple was for the building up of God’s people in faith toward God and in fervent love toward one another. The Temple was God’s plan for Israel as God has planned the Temple not made with human hands, Jesus Christ. “…do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? 

 The number one sense organ for the Lord’s Temple are our ears.  When Hannah’s prayers were answered for a child, as she prayed at Shiloh where the Ark of the Covenant was at that time, she rejoiced when she knew she was with child.  Because the Lord heard her, she named her son, Samuel, literally God hears.  And God hears was in the Sanctuary at Shiloh, assistant to the priest, Eli and one evening he hears a voice. As we heard in today’s Old Testament reading, he had heard the Lord and His Word to him.  Eli said, when you hear, say, “ Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.”  Eli was right:  the only  way that Samuel did know the Lord until the Lord revealed His Word to Samuel.  The Word made flesh, His epiphany has been revealed to Jew and Gentile:  Jesus Christ. He revealed His Word, His Name to you when  pastor a poured water over your head and said, You are baptized in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Your plural bodies are just like the Temple in Jerusalem was:  the place for His Name.  We trace the Cross over these Temples at the Name of the Holy Trinity, we are reminding ourselves we that our selves are not our, you were bought for a price.  What price?  Millions and millions of dollars, no!  You were bought by the holy, precious, innocent sufferings and death of Jesus Christ, God in man-made manifest. And the Corinthians were selling out their temples for the price of a one night stand. “…do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? 

 How do you build a temple?  When it comes to building a mortar and bricks temple, I would not know where to begin, but I do have darn good idea of the ways to desecrate and destroy a temple.  For instance, synagogues spray painted with swastikas and Torah scrolls defiled.  Religious leaders preach hatred and violence in their temples, against gays, women and the infidel, in the name of their deity. Ministers preaching same sex marriage, abortion from the pulpit, and the congregation giving the Amen or shrugging their shoulders with the “whatever” attitude.  When the greed of the so-called prosperity gospel is preached, but not the Lord who prospered us with His blood for our eternal salvation, money becomes the idol.  The hot theological issue in Corinth was that since the body does not matter, and Jesus has saved us and we are very spiritual, it is okay to hook-up with a prostitute. In response to the Corinthian Christians immorality, the Apostle Paul wrote to them the Gospel:  “You are a temple of the Holy Ghost”.  The church, the Temple of the Holy Spirit, in Corinth, the house of the Lord was fast becoming a whore house, but the Lord had claimed the Corinthians as His House, in His love poured out through His only-begotten Son.  “…do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? 

The priesthood at the time of Israel was hereditary.  Eli’s sons, Hophni and Phineas were priests in Shiloh like their father and the Word of the Lord was rare in those days.  Why was the Word of the Lord rare in the days of Samuel?  Hophni and Phineas were stealing from the sacrifices from the people and laying with the women who came to worship at Shiloh.  It’s hard to hear the Word of the Lord, when ears are filled with wickedness.  Hophni and Phineas had turned to their own way.  It’s hard to hear the Word of the Lord when the ears are filled with clamor and dispute. You are a temple of the Holy Ghost.  The temples of fame, wealth, personality, power cost a lot: our own souls.  This Temple is bought with price of Jesus’ blood, His sacrifice once and for all,not in the temple but for the Temple, for us. .  “…do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? 

 The Lord wants it be known we are a temple of the Holy Ghost within you.  He saved what He created and will bring it to fruition in the kingdom come.  He loves mankind.  He saves His creation, it’s worth saving, after all it is good, and man and woman. As in Psalm 8:

 what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?

Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
    and crowned him with glory and honor. Ps. 8

 For you formed my inward parts;    you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.Wonderful are your works;    my soul knows it very well. Ps. 139

 The Lord made human nature for Himself in faith and love.  He restores us in His reconciliation upon the Cross. God made us in His own image, in His own image He made us.    Man’s natural habitat, his nature, is not sin. It is faith. 

 Jesus said to Nathaniel that he would see heaven opened. The allusion in seeing heaven opened is the Patriarch Jacob’s dream on his way to Haran. The dream is commonly called Jacob’s ladder but what he saw in his dream was more like a temple and the Lord stood next to him on the road and the angels ascending and descending…but this is key: heaven opened.  Heaven opened when Jesus Christ was baptized and heaven opened when the Cross is lifted high, the mark of the true temple, of heaven come down in a Man, Jesus Christ for our forgiveness.  Truly, greater things will Nathaniel see:  the epiphany of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection.  Clinging and holding to Jesus Christ in His promised Presence in the Holy Spirit in Word and Sacrament is the reception in faith of His forgiveness.  The angels are messengers of God, bringing God’s Word to His people.  The Lord promised Nathaniel He would see the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.  He would see the many messengers of God’s Word proclaiming, teaching and living the Word of the Promises of God fulfilled in Jesus Christ.  Our ears hearing the Gospel and faith clinging to the Savior in His love of mankind.  .  “…do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? 

 In the Gospel, one to one John the Baptist told his disciples, Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, then one to one , then Andrew tells Peter, then Philip tells Nathaniel.  This is how the faith was spread throughout the Roman Empire under persecution, no church buildings but the temple of the Holy Ghost was there and the church grew exponentially.  Today’s is also the Confession of St. Peter. The Church held and holds to the confession of Christ. Bonhoeffer:

 Peter’s church, that does not mean a church of opinions and views, but the church of the revelation; not a church in which what “people say” is talked about but the church in which Peter’s confession is made anew and passed on; the church which has no other purpose in song, prayer, preaching, and action than to pass on its confession of faith…

 You could be and maybe have been part of a neighbor, friend or family members’ divine and eternal joy  in Christ by confessing Christ is your Lord.  You are the Lord’s talking Temple. The place with His people receiving the fruits of Jesus’ sacrifice, once and for all, for prayer, praise and thanksgiving, the place of His Word, His Name.  His Temple is all gift.  “…do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? 

 I conclude with a quote from Luther’s Sermon on today’s Gospel:

 “…what Christ cannot abide is if I assume that His kingdom is built on my wisdom and riches and that it cannot stand firm and endure without the protection, counsel and service of kings, princes, and lords.  Christ can very well dispense with all this.  He wants it clearly and definitely understood that all who seek entry into His kingdom must seek it by nothing but grace.  Christ has regard for no one because of his pile of guldens (money), his beauty, his wisdom, his golden hair, or because he wears a garment embroidered in gold or silver, or a gray coat. No, it is grace alone that counts.  His is to be a kingdom of grace, belonging to those who are wretched and poor, whether they be men or women, rich or poor.”

The peace of God which surpasses all human understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  Amen.


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Isaiah son of Amoz is considered to be the greatest of the writing prophets and is quoted in the New Testament more than any other Old Testament prophet. His name means “Yahweh [the Lord] saves.” Isaiah prophesied to the people of Jerusalem and Judah from about 740 B.C. to 700 B.C. and was a contemporary of the prophets Amos, Hosea, and Micah.

Isaiah was a fierce preacher of God’s Law, condemning the sin of idolatry. He was also a comforting proclaimer of the Gospel, repeatedly emphasizing the Lord’s grace and forgiveness. For this he is sometimes called the “Evangelist of the Old Testament.” No prophet more clearly prophesied about the coming Messiah and his saving kingdom. He foretold the Messiah’s miraculous birth (Isaiah 7:14; 9:6), his endless reign (2:1-5; 11:1-16), and his public ministry (61:1-3), but most notably his “Suffering Servant” role and atoning death (52:13-53:12).

The apostle John’s description of Isaiah, that Isaiah saw Jesus’ glory and spoke of Him (John 12:41), is an apt summary of Isaiah’s prophetic ministry.

Reflection:  The fact that Isaiah’s name means “The Lord saves”, Isaiah knew that Isaiah did not save but need His saving! Isaiah knew the day would come in which both Jew and Gentile would be saved in the perfect Son born of the Virgin. From Isaiah chapter 6:  The Narrative of Isaiah’s Call:

 1In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3And one called to another and said:

    “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”

 4And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. 5And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”

 6Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”

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