I had mixed feelings when I learned that the
library building at our original headquarters in Pasadena, California had been
Though I knew it was just a building, this
particular location held historical value for our denomination and to me
It’s funny how we get attached to things like
buildings. Most of us have seen old homes, churches, or schools that hold
significant memories in our lives torn down. We have to conclude these places have
served their purpose and it’s time to move on.
It makes me think about how Jesus’ disciples
felt when they went with him to the temple. They were “country boys” and were
overawed by the Temple’s magnificent architecture and by its meaning in their
lives. Imagine their surprise when Jesus himself said the following in Matthew
24:2, “Truly I tell you, not one stone
here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”
What Jesus was predicting was unthinkable.
The Temple was their headquarters, the center of their religious
life, and it was physical evidence that God dwells with his people. It was where
the Shekinah – the holy fire that symbolized God’s approval and acceptance – had
entered into and come down onto the altar when the temple was dedicated. How
could God allow such a holy building to be demolished?
What the disciples did not yet understand was
that God was now dwelling with his people in a different way – through the
person of Jesus. This would change the way people viewed God, the way they worshipped,
and the whole structure of their religious practices.
The disciples began to understand on the day
of Pentecost when the shekinah came again to Jerusalem. This time, however, it
passed over the temple and came to an ordinary house. There the fire divided
and hovered over the individuals gathered in an upper room.
By doing this, God was showing that through
the Holy Spirit, he would begin to build a new Temple – a temple not made of
hands, but made of people who believed and followed Jesus.
The apostle Peter said the following: “you also, like living stones, are being
built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual
sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:4-5).
The new temple is being built by God and
doesn’t consist of stones or metal or other building materials. The new temple
consists of people – people who don’t need a special place in which to worship,
but people who worship in spirit and in truth wherever they are.
This new temple is the temple you and I are
part of; this is a temple that can never be demolished.
I’m Joseph Tkach, Speaking of LIFE.