Bulletin Articles

Bulletin Articles

Jesus the Divine Temple

John’s gospel begins by affirming that Jesus is the divine logos, the Word through whom all things were made. In Him is life and light. Life comes from Him, and He, the light of the world, came to this earth to overpower the darkness so that all who come to Him would not perish but have eternal life. Sadly, “the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil” (John 3:19).

Even so, Jesus coming into this world fulfilled another important concept. Jesus is the divine Temple who dwells with His people. After John introduced the Word in whom is light and life (John 1:1-5), he speaks of that true light who was not received by His own (vs. 11). To those who did receive Him, “He gave the right to become children of God” (v. 12). John takes it a step further:

“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 1:14).

As the Word, Jesus is the expression and communication of God. Jesus has “made Him known” (vs. 18). Yet He did this not by simply telling people about God, but rather by His coming in the flesh Himself. “This is the supreme revelation” (Carson, The Gospel according to John, Pillar NT Commentary, 127). He identified with humanity in the most personal way possible.

The term for “dwelt” is important, for it indicates the idea of dwelling in a tent. He “tabernacled” among us, and this connects back to the Old Testament concept of God’s presence through the tabernacle and temple. When Moses and the people finished the construction of the tabernacle according to the pattern God gave them on the mountain, Scripture tell us, “Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle” (Exod 40:34). God’s presence, His glory, was there among them.

God’s glory filling the tabernacle is the theme picked up by John: “and we have seen his glory.” The glory of God filled the bodily tabernacle and presented to the world the greatest of all revelations. God had come in the flesh! This glory of God through Jesus was then said to be “full of grace and truth.” The fullness of grace and truth is found in Christ, who displayed God’s glory not in some showy display, but by the love demonstrated as He went to the cross to die for our sins. “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself” (John 12:32).

The emphasis on Jesus as the Temple of God is seen further in John 2. Jesus cleanses the temple of sellers and moneychangers, telling them, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade” (John 2:13-17). They challenged Jesus about this, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” Jesus’ responded, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (vs. 19). They thought Jesus was talking about the building, but Jesus was instead talking about the “temple of His body” (vs. 21). Indeed, He was speaking about the resurrection. “When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken” (vs. 22).

Jesus, the Word, is the divine and living Temple of God who shows forth the glory of God as He dwells among His people. The manifestation of His love demonstrates the grace and truth that flows from Him. In going to the cross, He made it possible for those who receive Him to be the children of God, born again, drinking the living water, eating the bread of life, and coming out of darkness into the light.

One of the beautiful aspects to this imagery is that those who come to Jesus, who comprise the body of Jesus, are also part of this temple. Peter writes that we come to Him as “living stones” and are “being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Pet 2:5). Paul writes that Christ is the Cornerstone, apostles and prophets are the foundation, and “the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit” (Eph 2:21-22).

Jesus is the divine Temple, and we, His body, share in this identification as living stones in this Temple. And like Jesus, we, too, will be raised up. Jesus died, but He died to defeat sin and death, and we are blessed to share in this great victory through Him. “For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace” (John 1:16). Thank the Lord for His great mercy!