Day 16

One Greater Than the Temple

from the The Presence of God reading plan


John 1:1-3, John 1:14, Luke 2:25-32, Matthew 12:3-8, John 2:14-22, Matthew 26:57-66, Matthew 27:39-40, Mark 15:33-39

BY Bailey T. Hurley

The presence of God came to earth and dwelt among people in Jesus Christ.

As Christians, we live in a post-temple world. It is difficult to fully comprehend a faith that required trips to the temple to sacrifice pure, spotless animals to atone for sin. But until Jesus came to earth, that is exactly what God’s people did regularly to appease God.

There were so many rules and regulations around temple worship depending on the type of sin committed, which animal you could afford to offer, and on what occasion. As time passed, the rules and regulations surrounding temple worship were manipulated as priests and “money changers” took advantage of those coming to offer sacrifices to God (see John 2:13–21). These misinterpretations and eyebrow-raising exchanges at the temple couldn’t possibly be what He’d originally intended—no, this system needed a lasting solution. A solution that could only come from God Himself.

Thankfully, God had a plan for His people that far exceeded a temple sacrifice: a person who was going to outlast a building, God Himself in the person of Jesus. “The Word [Jesus] became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). And as Jesus’s ministry grew, religious leaders became frustrated when He proclaimed that He could forgive sins.

The problem? No more visits to the temple. No more making profit from the people’s sacrifice. No more laws to twist and turn for their own power and control. Now, Jesus declared “something greater than the temple” had come: “mercy and not sacrifice” (Matthew 12:6,7).

But how?

Jesus Himself became the final sacrifice. As He took His last breath on the cross, the curtain that separated people from entering into God’s presence in the temple “was torn in two from top to bottom” (Mark 15:38). Instantly, through faith, we have access to God through Jesus who died for our sins and presents us “holy, faultless, and blameless before him” (Colossians 1:22).

Even though we live in a post-temple world, we often still cut ourselves off from the access we have to God through Jesus. We still put rules around our faith and offer up sacrifices of perfect church attendance, clean and uncomplicated relationships, and spotless pasts. Instead of graciously receiving Jesus’s gift of mercy and forgiveness, we try to earn it on our own and punish ourselves when we make mistakes.

We cannot forget that the presence of God came to earth and dwelt among humanity, not to condemn it but to save it (John 3:17). Instead of looking for ways to “[condemn] the innocent” (Matthew 12:7), Jesus had compassion for people. And He desired not just our physical sacrifice, but our entire lives.

For those who trust in Jesus, there is no more curtain in the temple separating us from God’s saving grace. Let’s turn to Jesus, who is greater than the temple, confess and repent of our sin, and give thanks for His everlasting sacrifice that has removed all barriers between us and our Creator God.

Writer and speaker Bailey T. Hurley is everyone’s favorite cheerleader for godly friendships. With a life-long heart for hospitality, Bailey offers simple friendship habits to help women build meaningful, lasting relationships. She’s written for publications like Deeply Rooted Magazine, Grit and Virtue, and Salvation Army’s Peer Magazine. She loves podcasts, and you can find her on Sally Clarkson’s “Life with Sally,” Kristin Schell’s “At the Turquoise Table,” and a dozen more. Bailey holds an MA in Leadership from Denver Seminary. She currently lives in Denver, Colorado, with her husband, Tim, and kiddos, Hunter and Liv. Learn more at baileythurley.com.

Post Comments (40)

40 thoughts on "One Greater Than the Temple"

  1. Anneliese Peterson says:

    Lord help me not to put the barriers back in place between you and me that you abolished by your sacrifice. Thank you for your continual grace for me. You are so good.

  2. Brandy Deruso says:

    Jesus sacrificed his life so i may be free thank you Jesus fir bearing the cross for me

  3. Caylie Evans says:

    It’s so easy to unintentionally put that barrier between myself and God. I tell myself that I have to be perfect BEFORE I go to Him. How silly is that?? That He who grants redemption and healing, He who has seen my worst and still loves me perfectly, is the one I am trying to make myself perfect for. Lord, tear away the walls I put up between us! Give me a heart that yearns for You!

  4. Dezarae Dorsey says:

    Jesus’ sacrifice removed the barrier. I should make sure I’m not doing anything to put it back unconsciously.

  5. Alicia McCann says:

    Help me Lord to remember that I live in a post temple world

  6. Susan Crosby says:

    Saving grace only through Jesus❤️

  7. Tricia Kennedy says:

    Thank you Lore for free access to you

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