Torn Down and Rebuilt

Day 161

Prayer for the day

I call upon you, O God, for you will answer me; incline your ear to me and hear my words.

Scripture for the day

Ezra 1-2, John 19:23-42

The story at the beginning of the book of Ezra is a triumphant one. The people of Israel (Judah), after a long exile, are sent home to begin rebuilding what they had lost. It is not what it once was, and they are not what they once were. But they are sent back. Cyrus, the king of Persia, listens to the word of the Lord and sends them home.

When they return, the temple has been torn down. It is desolate, destroyed. And the people are are to rebuild. This rebuilding will take a long time. This rebuilding will not be easy. This rebuilding will require a lot of the people. But it is something that, when it happens, will be glorious. The temple, the place of God, will be re-established.

In the Second Testament, we see the destruction of the temple of the body of Jesus, and we see a foretaste of what it will look like to rebuild that temple. His body is brought down from the cross by Joseph of Arimathea and attended to by Nicodemus. They anoint Jesus’ body with spices and wrap it in linen. They work at preparing the body, thinking that Jesus will be buried. Instead, they do what they don’t understand and prepare the body for resurrection.

The resurrection is coming, but the temple has been destroyed. The disciples are like the people of Israel in exile, people who have seen the destruction of their connection with God, the destruction of their spiritual home, and they are waiting on God for his newness.

The hope of the Israelites is realized in the rebuilding of the temple, and the true hope of every disciple is realized as the temple of Jesus’ body is rebuilt.

Our hope is realized as well when we share in the resurrection of the temple, the Lord.

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