The Final Temple – Gospel in Life

The Final Temple

Tim Keller |  August 20, 2000

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  • Doctrine
  • Understanding the Gospel
  • Jesus' Death & Resurrection
John 2:15-21
RS 115-6


Today’s sermon comes from a series on the hard sayings of Jesus. These are the statements Jesus makes in his teaching that people wrestle with. They’re either hard to understand or they’re hard to do or they’re hard to accept.

This saying is particularly difficult because Jesus says that the temple is in fact his body. This would have been such a huge and cosmic claim to his original audience. Compared to other hard sayings, this one may not strike us in the same way though. It’s not because what he’s saying is irrelevant to our concerns today, but we need some help translating the meaning of it. We’re going to have to ask ourselves three things to get to the bottom of it: 1) what is a temple; 2) what is Jesus’ claim about the temple; and 3) what practical difference does it make to our lives?

John 2:15–21

When Jesus said, “Destroy this temple, and I will rebuild it in three days,” it might sound confusing. To understand what he meant, we need to figure out three things: what a temple is, what Jesus meant when he talked about the temple, and how this affects our everyday lives. Doing so, we can unravel the deeper meaning of Jesus’ words.

1. What is a temple?

People in ancient times saw temples as special places where humans could connect with God. Nowadays, many people think these ideas are old-fashioned and strange. The Enlightenment period taught us to look for natural explanations for things, reducing the need for supernatural beliefs and temples. But, the growing interest in spirituality and religion today shows that we still crave a connection with something bigger than us, something temples originally provided.

2. What is Jesus’ claim about the temple?

Jesus tells us that he is what we’re truly searching for, comparing himself to a temple filled with God’s glory. He also says that his temple is different because he is the sacrifice, the priest, and the bridge between us and God. His death on the cross closes the gap between us and God, making other temples unnecessary. This statement is unique in its boldness and influence.

3. What practical difference does it make to our lives?

Understanding Jesus as the ultimate temple can change how we relate to God, ourselves, and others. It challenges the idea that we can earn God’s favor by doing good deeds, pushing us towards a relationship with God based on grace. It also emphasizes the importance of showing love and kindness to all, even those who don’t believe, encouraging us to live in a way that reflects God’s values.



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