Sunday, April 29, 2012

Leaving Our Familiar Paths

By Allen White

Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”
Matthew 24:1-2

Taken out of context, Jesus’ claims seem a bit ridiculous. Who was going to destroy the temple? Who would even have the chance? If someone started dismantling the temple, certainly a guard or a priest would stop them. What did Jesus have against the temple?

Jesus didn’t have anything against the temple. This was the sacred place where people came to meet God. This was the place where sinners came for atonement. But, Jesus is the fulfillment of all of that.

This section of Matthew contains many passages with a double meaning or even a double fulfillment. In the days leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion, it wasn’t Jesus coming to an end, it was the temple system facing its end.

The curtain separating the ordinary person from the tangible presence of God would be torn in two (Matthew 27:51). No longer would people need an intermediary. With Jesus tearing down that wall of separation, believers from then until now have direct access to the throne room.

The place of worship became irrelevant at this point. Any time, any place believers can enter into God’s presence. They don’t need a priest or a preacher, a worship leader or a band, they just need hearts focused on God Himself.

The dual prediction in Jesus’ words also pointed to AD 70 when the temple was actually destroyed.  Jesus predicted these events about 40 years before the destruction would take place. He wasn’t saying these things to bait the religious leaders.

Jesus wanted His followers to understand massive change was ahead, and it would be okay. They would be losing a familiar path of worship, but would be gaining access to the Father like they’d never experienced before.

You and I must admit we have some familiar paths to worship. Often worship is a weekend service with believers gathered together, and we should worship this way. But, if we’re only focusing on God on Sunday, we are missing so much of what God has for us.

Think about the dark places you must go throughout the week – your work, your neighborhood, certain relationships, or maybe even your own home. The power and presence of God are available to you there. In a quiet way, you can focus on God’s presence even in difficult places.

Meeting God no longer calls for ideal circumstances. Any time, any place, He is there. Where are we?

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