Trinity 10, 2016

 

The Epistle. 1 Corinthians 12:1-11

The Gospel.  St. Luke 19:41-47a

 

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.

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In the Old Testament we know of the Tabernacle.  The Tent of Meeting.  This is where the people of God would come to perform certain functions to God. 

 

They would come to sacrifice.

They would come to pray.

They understood it to be a place where they were more symbolically in the presence of God.

 

We know from the Scriptures however that God does not dwell in tents made with hands.  He needs no place to live away from the elements of rain and cold and heat.

He does not need to sleep or even rest.

 

But both the Tabernacle and later on the Temple served as a place that symbolized many of these things.

 

In a word, the Tabernacle was where God and His people came together.

 

The Tabernacle signified and showed forth the very nature and character of God.  It was built with thousands of pounds of gold, silver and bronze…as well as many fine materials and linens.

 

The craftsmanship was utterly stunning.  Carving, engraving, stitching, shaping.

 

All of the many and various materials were fashioned….carefully fashioned to create a unity.  Further symbolizing and showing forth the nature of God.

 

The Temple, which replaced the Tabernacle was a fixed structure. The Tabernacle was dismantled on occasion and moved from place. 

 

The Temple as a fixed structure, signified God’s unchangeable nature.  God does not change. 

 

The Temple again like the Tabernacle of old was a place of many purposes.  It provided a place where God would dwell in the midst of His people.  The Tabernacle was placed in the midst of the camp.  All of the tribes camped around it signifying God in the midst of His people.

 

He was central to their lives. 

 

So moving to today’s Gospel account in Luke 19.  Here today, we come to a time when Jesus actually weeps over the city of Jerusalem…the place of the Temple.  God’s Holy City.

 

 

Luke tells us that Jesus and His Disciples drew near to the City.  He is on His ride into the City. His Triumphal entry.  Yet Jesus weeps at this moment.

 

He does so, because there was nothing more that Christ desired than to bring salvation to all men….to the lost sheep of the House if Israel.  His very own people.

 

Moreover, He wept because He knew what was coming in a short time.  Complete destruction of the city of Jerusalem….Temple and all.

 

This was the place that God had chosen to dwell…to be a beacon…a place which would draw all men unto Himself.  It was His sanctuary where men could find sanctuary themselves.

 

Salvation was to come from this very place.  Salvation was to come to His adopted children.  His beloved children. 

The Temple being the center of it all.

 

But all He saw was ingratitude, hardness of heart and wickedness.  He saw rejection.  He saw indifference and misguided ideals.

 

But as Jesus goes on to say, “Would that you, even you, [O people of Jerusalem]…would that you had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.

 

So in this first section Jesus’ lament is that Jerusalem…more precisely, the Jewish people to whom He had been sent to save, had they only known or realized that this day…the time when Jesus was with them, which was the time of their salvation, they would have come to Him and found peace….peace with God.

 

But they would not.

 

 

Jesus’ mission was to bring peace between God and man.  Israel was to be the first sign of this to the surrounding nations.  The Tabernacle in the wilderness with God dwelling amongst them in peace showed those looking on that God was seeking the lost.

 

And in finding Him one would find peace.

 

The Temple and Jerusalem...  Jerusalem, by the way is from two words, yarah meaning foundation and shalem, meaning peace.  Jerusalem was the place, where the very foundation of peace was to be found.  Peace with God.

 

And yet here is Jesus today lamenting the fact that the inhabitants, though seeing the miracles, and hearing the teaching, did not see Jesus for who He was.  Instead of embracing Him, they rejected Him. 

 

 

Rejecting Him meant in fact rejecting peace with God…and rejecting God Himself.

 

Psalm 122 reads this way…David writing…

 

A Song of Ascents. Of David.

 

      “I was glad when they said to me,

            “Let us go to the house of the LORD!”

      Our feet have been standing

            within your gates, O Jerusalem!

     

      Jerusalem—built as a city

            that is bound firmly together,

      to which the tribes go up,

            the tribes of the LORD,

      as was decreed for Israel,

            to give thanks to the name of the LORD.

      There thrones for judgment were set,

            the thrones of the house of David.

     

     

 

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!

            “May they be secure who love you!

      Peace be within your walls

            and security within your towers!”

      For my brothers and companions' sake

            I will say, “Peace be within you!”

      For the sake of the house of the LORD our God,

            I will seek your good.” (Psalm 122 ESV)

 

Jesus goes on with this, “For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” (Luke 19:42-44 ESV)

 

Because they rejected Christ’s visitation, the Day of their Visitation, they would suffer the consequences. 

 

Jesus promised that because of their rejection of God’s overtures toward them in the person of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, their city would be destroyed.

 

This day of doom would be delayed for some time, but it did in fact come to pass just as Jesus predicted and foretold.

 

There was still a short time in which people would turn to Christ through the preaching of His Apostles and Disciples.  But destruction was to come for sure.

 

The days will come when a barricade would be set around them.  This was more like a mound.  Josephus, the Jewish historian of the time wrote about this in great detail. 

 

He said that a mound type of enclosure would be built around the city.  This was built so that the inhabitants could not get out.  This was said to have been done in about three days.  Incredible speed and determination.

 

Josephus wrote “Now as soon as the army had no more people to slay, or to plunder, because there remained none to be the objects of their fury, Cĺsar gave orders that they should now demolish the whole city and temple.… This wall (i.e., part of the west wall) was spared, in order to afford a camp for such as were to lie in garrison: as were the towers also spared, in order to demonstrate to posterity what kind of city it was, and how well fortified, which the Roman valour had subdued: but for all the rest of the wall, it was so thoroughly laid even with the ground by those that dug it up to the foundation, that there was nothing left to make those who came thither believe it had ever been inhabited.” [1]

 

Not one stone will be left upon another said Jesus.  And so it was.

 

So, He enters the Temple and began to drive out those who sold.  Despite its coming destruction, Jesus’ anger is rightly still kindled over what He finds in the Temple.

 

There were merchants selling various items.  They were selling animals, wine, oil, salt, doves.  These were the items needed by those pilgrims to the Temple who were coming to offer sacrifices.

 

Also, the money changes were exchanging Roman and Greek coins for the half-shekel Temple Tax, which was a requirement the Jews paid according to the Law.

 

The problem was exacerbated by the fact that there were build-in charges.  Some of the money went to the high priest’s family.[2]

 

So there was corruption in the Temple.

 

Commentator Darrell Bock, “No matter where Jesus looked, He found cause for weeping. If He looked back, He saw how the nation had wasted its opportunities and been ignorant of their “time of visitation.”

If He looked within, He saw spiritual ignorance and blindness in the hearts of the people. They should have known who He was, for God had given them His Word and sent His messengers to prepare the way.

As He looked around, Jesus saw religious activity that accomplished very little. The temple had become a den of thieves, and the religious leaders were out to kill Him. The city was filled with pilgrims celebrating a festival, but the hearts of the people were heavy with sin and life’s burdens.

As Jesus looked ahead, He wept as He saw the terrible judgment that was coming to the nation, the city, and the temple.

 

 

 

In a.d. 70, the Romans would come and, after a siege of 143 days, kill 600,000 Jews, take thousands more captive, and then destroy the temple and the city. Why did all of this happen? Because the people did not know that God had visited them! “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not” (John 1:11). “We will not have this man to reign over us!” (Luke 19:14)[3]

 

Now our Prayer this morning was that the ears of God would be open to the petitions of His people. That He would be hearing our prayers.  And that we may obtain our petitions….that we may receive a favorable answer to our requests.

 

But this is to be done, says the Prayer, by God making us ask such things as shall please Him.

 

There was a time when the Tabernacle was the place for this very thing. 

God dwelt among His people. His presence was known and felt.

 

The Temple was to be the counterpart to the Tabernacle. A more permanent structure but serving the same function.  To be a house of prayer.

 

Jesus in His day found in the Temple, not a place of prayer… a house of Prayer, but a den of thieves.  It was full of corruption and disgusting practice.  The people had bastardized its true function.

 

So in due time, it came down.

 

What is left?

There is a new Temple.

 

Recall these words that we all should know well.  John bears this witness to us.  We should hear it and heed it.  It sort of recaps much of what we have heard here today.

“The true light, [Jesus Christ] which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.

 

He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

 

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:9-14 ESV)

 

That line, He dwelt among us translates as He tabernacled among us. 

 

God’s old Tabernacle is no more. 

His Temple is no more. 

 

Jesus Christ, is the New Temple, the New Tabernacle, dwelling among His people.

 

And He has not pulled up stakes on us either.  He still dwells with us through the power of the Holy Spirit. 

 

Though we live in a post-Temple period, the Scriptures tell us two things.  Our bodies are now the Temple of the Holy Spirit.

 

And, Jesus said about Himself “something greater than the Temple is here.” …and “Destroy this Temple (referring to His body) and I will raise it up in three days…(referring to His Resurrection)

 

We do not need the Temple to worship God.  It is not to be rebuilt anyway. Sacrifices are not to be reinstituted.

 

 

 

As God’s people now indwelt by the Holy Spirit we have direct access to the Father through our Eternal Temple, Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

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In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

 



[1] Sadler, M. F. (1892). The Gospel according to St. Luke, with Notes Critical and Practical (Fourth Edition, pp. 502–504). London: George Bell and Sons.

[2] Bock, D. L. (1996). Luke: 9:51–24:53 (Vol. 2, p. 1572). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.

[3] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, p. 255). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.