Jesus said, Œmy house will be a house of prayer for all nations.¹ He said this after He sent the merchants flying out of the temple. ³But you have made it a den of robbers.² Jesus coming back into his body means coming again to be the dwelling presence of the temple. We don¹t remember what this felt like‹to have the presence of God permeate his own living quarters. But we are about to.
There was another time we didn¹t remember, when He returned into the rebuilt temple‹and we felt Him then, too. It had been so long since we had listened to His words, the reading of his very ways on paper caused us to weep. Once again the energy, beauty and purifying presence of the Lord had returned. Time and time again His presence would return and seem to disappear from us. We would forget how to call Him, we would live as if He was only a special occasion.
Then we came to us as a human being, if it could not get more pointed than that. Jesus said to us, ³Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days² (John 2:19). He will raise it again because he has raised it before. He has lost his dwelling places‹nations, tabernacles, physical temples, his own body, and now His church‹over and over. But He will not stop raising it again; He showed us how by resurrecting His human body.
We have made our body a home for robbers. Daily we let things steal from attention to Him. We let frustration with each other steal our devotion, we use Jesus to get what we want; we line the court passageways to our heart with anger, pessimism, fear, and rejection. How Jesus cleaned out the stone temple is how He is cleaning out the flesh temple. We, as His body, are His collective space for entering the earth. It is not through one of us, or any one group, but through the whole entire people of God that His presence will return and fill the temple and then the earth. Do we have any idea what this means? Of course we can¹t talk about it without getting mystical. The very presence of the Creator is returning to the earth through a people.
Just as in the time of Nehemiah and Ezra, we are becoming the sccond temple. We are promised that the glory of this temple will be greater than the first, and in our case that means the early church was an amazing sign‹but we are to be the full embodiment of that sign. We also have sometimes the faintest clue of what we are building it for. We haven¹t experienced the entire body gathered in one spirit to hear the words of the Lord, to hear His wind rushing in and filling us with His smoke and power and sense of wonder.
Like them we also will have to face insults along the way‹first plots to raise strife and contention among us as we build, then public humiliation. Hello, the enemy does not want His presence to fill the entire body of Christ in the same way that was promised to the prophets. But our Presence will allow these plots to come so that we can recognize them and know why we stand together. He will not allow the den of robbers to be the pervasive way of His temple so He will stir us up until all the tables are thrown out and all our gates are open for prayer, all day and night.