Jesus answered and said unto them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” John 2:19
Lord, I really think this is more than just coincidence. In my “daydreaming” session with You this morning as I was brushing my teeth it was all about our body as the temple of the Lord. So I have to think that this is where You want me today. This is where You and I will focus our attention, on our body, the temple of the Lord, Your temple.
Now, what started me thinking on the body as Your temple, Lord, I mean, beside You putting it on my mind? Well, I suppose, simply brushing my teeth started it. Because brushing my teeth reminds me of my dear, dear friend Jessica who is a full time missionary in the Philippines. She’s a dentist. And I’ve learned more in the last four years since we’ve become close about brushing my teeth than I have in my whole life!
Not only that, but one of the mission organizations that she partners with is CCI. And I was recently able to sit in on their Community Health Education (CHE) teacher training sessions. I loved it. It’s a holistic approach to teaching people health care. What does that mean? It means caring for aspects of spirit, soul, and body when teaching. It doesn’t matter if it’s dental care, devotion, how to govern a small group, or how to plant in small areas. Not just the physical is covered.
So, this morning, I was thinking holistically with You, Lord. And I was thinking about teaching dental hygiene to kids. And what if a kid said, “I can’t stand the taste of toothpaste!” Why keep brushing? Which led me to think about the value of their body to You, that each of us was created to be a temple of the Lord, Your temple. Holistically, we were created to be Your temple, for You to dwell inside. After Adam and Eve’s fall, sin robbed us of that automatic indwelling. Now, we are holistically born with a hole, a hole that is designed to be filled with You, because we were created to be Your temple, each one of us. So it matters how we care for our bodies, these temples. And it matters what comes out of these bodies, our temples.
So, it’s pretty amazing to me that this morning as I read Your Word, You brought that up. “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” That day, around 2000 years ago, You had just shaken things up in the “physical” temple in Jerusalem. They had been misusing the temple court by selling the things needed for the offerings in a way to make gain. And they shouldn’t even have been selling anything in the temple court. So You overthrew the tables and scared the living daylights out of the moneychangers and sellers and drove them out. So the Jewish leaders there wanted to know what kind of sign You were going to show them so they would know You really had the authority to do what You just did. I’m not sure why You needed a sign. They should have already never have let it happen. But I guess that’s what happens when you turn a blind eye to true righteousness.
Well, then You give one of those answers again that is a play on words. “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” And right away they think of the temple of Jerusalem. “It took 40 years to build and you are going to tear it down in three days? That’s incredulous!” But John tells us that You were speaking of Your body. And today, we know that is true. It was torn down, crucified for us. Three days You spent in the grave and then, THEN, YOU ROSE!
Lord, You always set the example for us. So thank You for reminding me that just as Your body was the temple of God, so is mine. But it’s not only about taking care of my temple (Your temple!), and letting the right things go into and out of the temple, but it’s also about knowing how and when to sacrifice my temple. I need to know who I owe everything to, who I am dependent upon, who makes me to even exist.
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6, “But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit…Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which you have of God, and you are not your own? For you were bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Cor. 6:17, 19, 20) Seems like You want us to deal with things holistically here, Lord, mind, body, soul, spirit, actions. They all belong to You.
Because if I read the things Paul shares earlier in that chapter, it’s not just running away from doing bad things, and it’s not just doing good things; it’s about making sacrifices like suffering ourselves to be defrauded or allowing ourselves to suffer wrong, so we don’t have to be the one to hurt someone else. It means caring more about mending a relationship than having to be right. It means being honest about our struggles with other brothers and sisters in the faith. I guess this isn’t the kind of temple we are used to. Who would have thought that a purified temple didn’t have a perfect paint job? Who would have thought that God’s holy temple would constantly have to have maintenance to keep it holy?
So, why brush if it’s yucky? For the same reason that Christ suffered the cross for us. Out of love for the Lord, out of delight in Him, I care for my body, I care for others, and I honor and obey Him in all I do. For the love of You and by the power of Your love, I brush my teeth, I wash my hands and body, I eat right, I talk right, I read the right things, I choose not to argue and have to be right, I give things up. But I can’t do it on my own. I am so glad that my temple is filled with You. I never have to do this alone.
Well, Lord, I am so grateful that You are continually teaching me to be more like You. And I’m glad that You use things like toothbrushes and toothpaste, and dentist friends, and organizations like CCI to teach these things through the power of Your Word and Your love. It’s amazing that You choose out of love to make us Your holy temples. But we can only be Your temples if we have allowed Your Holy Spirit to fill us and continually make us pure and holy and more and more like You. Lord, I thank You that You began that work in me when I was fifteen. I remember the moment. And I am so glad that You are continually maintaining the work You have begun. And Lord, I look forward to You adding more and more temples to Your kingdom every day. Make me a beautiful temple, Lord, beautiful like You so that others want to be temples too. Lord, thank You that nothing is just by coincidence.