I’ve started studying through the Gospel of John with my Friday morning men’s group. This morning we read John 2:13-25 where Jesus enters the Temple during Passover and drives out the money changers and those selling animals for sacrifice. This obviously upset the Jews and they asked Jesus,
“What sign do you show us for doing these things?” Jesus answered, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “It has taken forty six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking about the temple of his body.
While there is an incredible amount of theology packed into these verses we focused on the importance of Jesus claiming to be the temple of God. Jesus was saying that the presence of God lived in Him.
Remember, up to this point the presence of God had not been manifest in this way. In the Old Testament the presence of God resided in the Tent of Meeting and then when the temple was built, it resided in the holy of holies, the most sacred space in the temple. For Jesus to make this claim is astounding. He is saying that the presence of God, or the Spirit of God now resides in Himself!
In other words, a person who wanted to be in the presence of God did not have to go to the temple, they just had to be around Jesus. And of course, this is the whole point of Jesus’ ministry. God sent Jesus in the flesh to be Immanuel, God with us.
We go from a building to a person being indwelt by the Spirit and presence of God. This ultimately gives Jesus the power and authority to do what God had called him to do. Jesus had the power to heal, the authority to teach and the ability to live a perfect life. Ultimately, this power and authority allowed Jesus to go to the cross, be sacrificed for our sins, bearing the wrath of God and then three days later be raised from the dead. It’s hard to even explain the magnitude of Jesus being God in the flesh.
This is the gospel, the good news that God has come to help His people. God has revealed Himself to us, in the flesh. He became a man and experienced all the things we experience. God can relate to us in every way. He knows everything about us and has chosen to show us mercy and grace at the cross and empty tomb.
But the story continues. The New Testament continues to unfold the implications of Jesus being indwelt with God’s Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 3:16, the apostle Paul says, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?”
Wait, are you saying that as a believer, the Spirit of God resides in me, just as it resided in Jesus? The answer is yes. Because we are united to Christ, the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit now lives and dwells within us. Again, the magnitude of this truth is astounding. The implications are so life changing we will spend an eternity understanding them.
But for today, you must know that you have the power and authority to live your life in Christ. You have the power to overcome sin in your life. You have the power and strength to fight off the deceptions of satan. You have the power to overcome depression, anxiety, sadness, loneliness and pain. This is because the Spirit of God lives in you and there is nothing greater than God’s Spirit.
You have the authority to speak truth to yourself, to others and to our culture. You have the authority to live life the way that God has called you to live it. You don’t have to believe the false claims the world offers. You can believe that the promises of God are far better than the promises of the world.
You have the authority to make disciples, to love others unconditionally, to seek justice, to live sacrificially. Knowing and believing that the Spirit of God lives in you propels you into ministry, motivates you to love God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind.
This is the gospel, you were once alienated and far from God, but because God is rich in mercy and grace He has brought you into a relationship with Himself through Jesus and now His Holy Spirit resides in your heart. This is the gospel that changes everything!