7 Minute Read

Today’s Bible Reading:

Judges 15:1–16:31
John 2:1-25
Psalm 103:1-22
Proverbs 14:17-19

Today’s Bible Verse(s):

John 2:19-22 (NLT):” ‘All right,’ Jesus replied. ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ ‘What!’ they exclaimed. ‘It has taken forty-six years to build this Temple, and you can rebuild it in three days?’ But when Jesus said ‘this temple,’ he meant his own body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered he had said this, and they believed both the Scriptures and what Jesus had said.”

Reflections on Today’s Bible Verse(s):

When we read the verses that I have chosen for today, we quickly realize that the word “temple” was being used by Jesus and the Jewish leaders. But, they were defining that word differently.

In my crazy mind, I can imagine Inigo Montoya (from the movie “Princess Bride”), stepping into the scene. I can imagine him having a confused expression on his face as he looked at the religious leaders. Then, he said those words that every “Princess Bride” fan knows: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

When the religious leaders used the word “temple,” they envisioned a building and only a building. When Jesus used the word “temple,” He was talking about the human body of a God-follower.

The religious leaders used the word “temple” to speak of a building where God’s presence once dwelt. When Jesus used the word “temple,” He was speaking of a God-follower whose body was the present dwelling place of God.

Unfortunately, contemporary Christians get this wrong, too. When they use the word “church,” they are talking about a building. They imagine something extra special about the structure and fail to realize that THEY are the building, the temple, of God.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NLT): “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” (emphasis mine)

Why is it so important to realize that our bodies, if we are trusting in Jesus Christ for eternal life, are the temple of God? Why is it important to recognize that there is no single building in the whole world that is a temple, a dwelling place of God?

Among the many other reasons, if we believe that a building is God’s temple, then we will feel like we have to go to that place to worship. We will feel like we are on holy ground in that building. When we leave, we will feel like we are entering the realm of the common. We won’t expect to enjoy God’s presence nearly as much as when we are in that building.

But, if we see our bodies as temples of the living God, we will realize that we take our place of worship with us everywhere we go. Since the Holy Spirit resides in the body of every believer, then everywhere we walk is holy ground. And whether we are in church or at home or in the grocery store, we have a continued opportunity to enjoy God, worship Him, and serve Him.

Friend, don’t listen to those first-century believers and think that the temple or church is a building. Instead, listen to Jesus. The temple is the body of a believer, and the church is the gathering of temples.

If we are saved and see our bodies as the holy place of God, it will radically change how we see ourselves and the life we live. 

Matt Ellis is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida (fbcpolkcity.com). His latest book is God’s Grace in the Real World. Connect with him on FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn.

Model of Jerusalem in 2nd Temple Period