Luke 21:10-11

According to John?s gospel, Jesus said at the outset of His ministry, ?destroy this temple and in three days I will rebuild it.?E As John tells us, Jesus was talking about the temple of His body, which would be destroyed on the cross and ?rebuilt?Ein the resurrection.

Though Luke doesn?t include that statement of Jesus, Luke does assume the same perspective as John. This is evident from the way that Luke brings out the connections between Jesus prophecy of the destruction of the temple and Jesus?Eown death on the cross. Jesus predicts that ?great earthquakes?Eand ?signs in the heavens?Ewill precede the coming day of the Son of Man, and he records a few chapters later that during the crucifixion there was ?darkness over the whole land?Eand the ?sun was obscured?E(23:44-45). Jesus predicts that His disciples will be handed over to the authorities, and that it will be an opportunity for testimony, and a few chapters later Jesus is handed over to the authorities and testifying before Pilate. Jesus says that the fall of Jerusalem will bring great distress upon the land and that Jerusalem and the temple will be trampled by Gentiles; but years before that, Jesus went through a great tribulation and was trampled down by the Gentiles.

Luke, in short, shows us that Jesus is the temple, and that the death of Jesus is a sign of the future destruction of the temple. But that also means that the resurrection of Jesus is the rebuilding of a temple. And this brings us to this table. The temple in Israel was the festive center of the nation, the place where three times a year Israel?s men and many women gathered for feasts commemorating the great acts of God. That temple no longer stands. It is destroyed. But we still have a temple, there is a new temple, the body of Jesus. And we are invited week after week to assemble as and in this temple, and to eat, drink, and rejoice before the Lord.

Articles by Peter J. Leithart

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