Wednesday of 1st Sunday after Easter – 1 Peter 2:1-10

| April 30, 2014 | 2 Comments More

Second Temple, Herod's Temple 1 Peter 2:1-10

“You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

I had a dream once in which I was in a great outdoor library located next door to a Putt Putt golf course.  Some of the books in this library were very thick, a foot wide and hollow inside, containing a variety of foods like macaroni and cheese and baked beans.  Others of the books in this library were alive.  (I even incorporated this dream into a poem of mine).

In verse 23 of Chapter 1 St. Peter speaks of the Word of God which lives and abides forever, but in verse 5 of Chapter 2 he speaks of living stones.  And you and I are those stones, built together into God’s holy Temple, which is the Body of Christ.

When Solomon began to build the Temple of the Lord, he commanded his quarrymen (the original name of the Beatles) to quarry large stones, costly stones, and hewn stones to lay the foundation of the temple.

When Herod built the grandest temple of them all, the largest of the stones was 44.6 feet by 11 feet and weighed 628 tons!  Alfred Edersheim describes the Temple like this:  “As the pilgrim ascended the Mount, crested by that symmetrically proportioned building, which could hold within its gigantic girdle not fewer than 210,000 persons, his wonder might well increase at every step.  The Mount itself seemed like an island, abruptly rising from out deep valleys, surrounded by a sea of walls, palaces, streets, and houses, crowned by a mass of snowy marble and glittering gold, rising terrace upon terrace.”

The building was longer and higher than York Cathedral, according to Edersheim, and the view from one of the colonnades down to the KedronValley was 450 down.

And yet all this glory and splendor lasted only a little more than 80 years, and, in fact, the construction of Herod’s temple was only completed 6 years before its destruction by the Romans in A.D. 70.

But Jesus Christ Himself is the true Temple of God, not built by human hands.  If you want to know the true meaning of the temple and its glory, then look to Jesus Christ.  And if you want to better understand Jesus Christ, then consider the Temple.  He is the spiritual house, the tabernacle where God has tabernacled with man.  “And I will tabernacle among the children of Israel and will be their God” (Exodus 45).  “And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us” (John 1:14).

Jesus Christ is the Living Stone, who is chosen by God and precious (verse 4).  It is as if God had seen the stony, lifeless Temple of the Jews and breathed life into it, sending down His Son as the LivingTemple, the Living Stone.  He is a Rock, as we well know, but not a lifeless rock.  God’s Temple is now the Body of Jesus Christ, that one in heaven and that mystical one on earth.

Since Jesus is the true Temple and Living Stone, it’s natural that we must also be living stones.  What else could the Body of Christ possibly be constructed out of, except living stones?  Although we were born dead as stones, He has vivified us and made us alive.  Even our hearts which were once stony and dead are now made fleshy stone and alive, as we enter into life with Him.

As Christ is the Temple, we are the Temple.  United with Him, we are made like Him: He the Living Stone and we the living stones.  He the Christ and we the Christians.  We are God’s spiritual house in which He now truly dwells.  For this reason, we must be holy as He is holy (1:16), and we must not live as dead stones who only move when they are hurled at each other, destroying all they touch.

We are also the holy priesthood who ministers in this temple.  Having been united to Christ and made living stones by touching the Living Stone, we are also His priests, a royal priesthood to minister to Him.  Not only has He sanctified and consecrated us but He has sent us out to do His holy will on the earth.  We are to unite ourselves to His one perfect sacrifice by becoming like Him in all things.  As He sacrificed Himself, so must we.

In this way, we are, with Jesus, not only the Temple and priests but also the sacrifice.  “But father, where is the sacrifice?” Isaac naively asked.  And we ask a similar question, not realizing that we are the sacrifice that pleases God.  We must offer ourselves to Him as living sacrifices that are never consumed but are given new life.  Living stones, living priests, and living sacrifices.

Our whole lives are to be consumed with God and yet like the holy burning bush never consumed.  We are the Bread of Heaven that though it is eaten never runs out, and we are the widow’s oil.  Living together in union with Him and in love with one another (1:22), we are to be built up continually into a spiritual house, which is the fullness of the stature of Jesus Christ.

In our Holy of holies is our innermost being, both our heads and hearts.  This is the Ark of the Covenant which contains the Law that is the Living Word that is to be written on our living hearts.   The Ark also contains the pot of manna, our daily Bread, the Living Word, which is Christ, by which we are fed and made alive in our inner man.

Our Holy Place is filled with sensory experiences, which are to be used in holy remembrance of God.  The lampstand or the lights in our lives are there to enlighten the eyes; the incense, or things that delight God’s nose, signify our prayers; the shewbread, which is also our daily bread of Christ, is to fill our mouths, reminding us to taste and see that the Lord is good; the bells of the high priest, the music in our lives, fills our outward ears and call us back to God.

The courtyard is our outer, public lives.  The laver represents the washed and holy lives we are to lead (see 1 Peter 1).  In the courtyard is the altar, representing a whole life dedicated to God.

Peter the fisherman has become Peter the painter.  He has portrayed a life consecrated to God in all things, made holy because He is holy and made holy because we are united with the One Who Is Holy.  Each a living stone, yet only together the Temple of the Lord, let us sacrifice ourselves today to the Lord that we might begin to live!

Prayer:  I earnestly desire thy fatherly goodness, mercifully to accept this my sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving; most humbly beseeching thee to grant that, by the merits and death of thy Son Jesus Christ, and through faith in his blood, I, and all thy whole Church, may obtain remission of our sins, and all other benefits of his passion.  And here I offer and present unto thee, O Lord, my self, my soul and body, to be a reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice unto thee; humbly beseeching thee, that I, and all others who shall be partakers of Jesus Christ, may be filled with thy grace and heavenly benediction, and made one body with him, that he may dwell in us, and we in him.

Points for Meditation:

1.  Have you been more like a dead stone or more alive as a living stone?  If more stony, why might you be lifeless?  If more alive, then give thanks and praise to God!

2.  What is one area in which God has been asking you to re-consecrate yourself to Him? 

Resolution:  I resolve to find one area in my life in which God is asking me to re-consecrate myself or one area in which He is seeking to revive me.  Having found this, I resolve to spend time asking Him for strength and wisdom in this area. 

© 2014 Fr. Charles Erlandson

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Category: Give Us This Day

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  1. Diane ehlers says:

    Books full of macaroni & cheese, AND. baked beans ? You are Hilarious !!! You made me hungry!
    Thank you for another wonderful devotional.
    I’m having a biopsy on my vocal chord tomorrow, can you please pray for me that my anxiety level doesn’t go over the top ? Thank you, 9:30 -ish am EST.
    Thanks for your devotionals, they are like healing balm to me !!
    Diane Ehlers of Cincinnati, Ohio

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