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When Jesus goes out of the temple

Rev. Charles Oppong-Poku | August 15, 2023 | Matthew 24:1-2

KEY VERSE:

Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the Temple. Matthew 24:1 (ESV).


MESSAGE:

When opening chapter 24, it is extremely important to keep in mind the context of the end of chapter 23. Jesus is crying over the city of Jerusalem because of its wickedness and he tells the Jews that the Temple will soon be left desolate (Matthew 23:37-38). He then tells the Jewish officials they will not see Him again until they say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord” (Matthew 23:39), which we took to be a reference to Judgement Day. As chapter 24 opens, Jesus is departing the Temple area and His disciples are making it a point to draw attention to the splendour of the Temple complex. But Jesus goes even further in verse 2, with the announcement that a day was coming when the Temple would be destroyed. The destruction would be so complete not even 2 stones would stand on top of each other.


The Temple was a place of worship, a sacred space where people came to encounter God and offer their sacrifices. However, by the time of Jesus, it had also become a hub of religious ritualism, hypocrisy, and self-righteousness. The religious leaders of the time were more concerned with outward appearances and maintaining their authority than with true worship and compassion. Their focus had shifted from God to themselves, leading to a disconnect between their actions and the core principles of faith. This heart attitude of hypocrisy and pride was what caused Jesus to leave the Temple.


When Christ goes out from any society, individual, or institution, its overthrow is certain, and the consequence is always destruction. Jesus' departure from the Temple was a stark wake-up call for the Pharisees and for us today. It serves as a powerful reminder that God values sincerity of heart and genuine worship above mere religious observances. When our actions and attitudes become self-centred and hypocritical, we risk driving away the very presence and glory of God. The consequence of Jesus leaving the Temple was both a physical reality – the Temple's eventual destruction – and a prophetic message - the impending judgment that would come upon those who failed to recognize and repent of their spiritual complacency.


FEET AND HANDS FOR THE MESSAGE:

As we reflect on this message, let us examine our hearts and motives in our relationship with God. Have you made room in your heart for Christ? Are we seeking Him with sincerity, humility, and authenticity, or are we merely going through the motions of religious observance? The lesson from Jesus leaving the Temple is a call to true and wholehearted worship – one that acknowledges our need for His grace and seeks a genuine relationship with Him that leads to a transformed life.


PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, I come before you with a humble heart, recognizing my tendency towards spiritual complacency. Forgive me, Lord, for the times I have allowed ritualism and self-centeredness to take precedence over a genuine relationship with you. I invite your presence to fill the temple of my heart. Cleanse me from all forms of hypocrisy and pride, and renew my passion for you, Lord. May your Spirit fill me, transforming my heart into a dwelling place worthy of your presence. In Jesus' name, I pray, Amen.


THERE SHALL BE SHOWERS OF BLESSING.

SHOWERS! BLESSINGS!! _______________________________ DAILY word study: TEMPLE The English word "temple" in this verse is translated from the Greek word "ναός" (naos). In the New Testament, "ναός" specifically refers to the inner sanctuary or shrine of the temple, often denoting the most sacred and holy area.


In this passage, Jesus and His disciples are departing from the temple in Jerusalem. The disciples are drawn to the magnificence of the temple's buildings and express admiration for its grandeur. This sets the stage for Jesus' teachings about the temple's eventual destruction and the events leading up to the end times.


The word "temple" holds profound symbolism and meaning within the context of Jesus' teachings. The temple was the religious and spiritual centre of Judaism, a place of worship, sacrifice, and divine presence. It represented the connection between God and humanity. Yet, Jesus' departure from the temple and His subsequent discourse in Matthew 24 signals a shift in perspective. Jesus' words indicate that while the physical temple held importance, it was ultimately a temporary structure. His teachings emphasize the transcendent and eternal nature of His mission—to establish a spiritual temple not made with human hands, where God's presence resides in the hearts of believers.

This passage invites us to consider the nature of our own faith. Are we fixated on external trappings, like the grandeur of a physical temple, or are we attuned to the deeper, spiritual reality of our relationship with God? The temple's impermanence reminds us to seek a lasting connection with God through Christ.


Reflections

As you meditate on the significance of the word "temple" in Matthew 24:1, ask yourself: How can you ensure that your focus is on cultivating an intimate and spiritual connection with God, rather than being preoccupied with external structures or rituals? How can you embrace the truth that my heart is now a temple of the Holy Spirit, inviting His presence to dwell within me?



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