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Where does God live?

26/03/2023 - Jody Destry

If we look at the biblical story of where God lives – what we discover is that God has lived in a few different places over the course of history.

But God’s heart and intention from the beginning was always to dwell with his people…

So, Garden, tabernacle, Temple 1 & 2, The Word became flesh

Jesus Clears the Temple – John 2:13—21

13 It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover celebration, so Jesus went to Jerusalem. 14 In the Temple area he saw merchants selling cattle, sheep, and doves for sacrifices; he also saw dealers at tables exchanging foreign money. 15 Jesus made a whip from some ropes and chased them all out of the Temple. He drove out the sheep and cattle, scattered the money changers’ coins over the floor, and turned over their tables. 16 Then, going over to the people who sold doves, he told them, “Get these things out of here. Stop turning my Father’s house into a marketplace!”

17 Then his disciples remembered this prophecy from the Scriptures: “Passion for God’s house will consume me.”

18 But the Jewish leaders demanded, “What are you doing? If God gave you authority to do this, show us a miraculous sign to prove it.”

19 “All right,” Jesus replied. “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

20 “What!” they exclaimed. “It has taken forty-six years to build this Temple, and you can rebuild it in three days?” 21 But when Jesus said “this temple,” he meant his own body. 22 After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered he had said this, and they believed both the Scriptures and what Jesus had said.

Why was Jesus was so outraged and what was he trying to communicate?

1/ Jesus was so outraged because the very people who’s job it was to welcome the foreigners to the temple and make it easy and accessible for them to worship there were making it impossible for them to meet with God.

2/ They had created systems and structures that were keeping people out instead of making ways for people to get in.

3/They’d become so focussed seeking their own interests that they’d created an almost impenetrable barrier.

4/They had turned a place of prayer and worship into a marketplace for making money.

How did the Jewish leaders respond?

Why does this matter & What does this mean for following Jesus in the real world?

1/ WE ARE GOD’S DWELLING PLACE (God lives in us)

Don’t you realise that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. (1 Cor 6:19)

THIS IS THE ULTIMATE EXPRESSION OF BELONGING

For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said,

“I will dwell in them and walk among them;

And I will be their God, and they shall be My people. (2 Cor 6:16)

2/ LIVING AS MINI TEMPLES – called to carry God’s presence to the world

14 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

(Matt 5:14-16)

Reflection Questions:

1/ Where has God sent you and positioned you to be a mini temple for him in this season?

2/ If we are the place where God’s dwells – How easy is it for people to see and meet Jesus through your life?

3/ Where are we making it hard for people who are seeking God to find him and to find belonging in community with us?

4/ What’s cluttering up your temple? What tables is Jesus overturning in your life? (E.g. distractions, sin, ego, greed, selfish ambition, busyness)

5/ How is God inviting us to be a more welcoming community that actively seeks the belonging of others even (and especially) if they are different to us?