IN THE TEMPLE
Luke 2:40 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him. 41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. 42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. 43 And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. 44 But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. 45 And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him. 46 And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. 47 And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. 48 And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. 49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? 50 And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them. 51 And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.
Here we have the true Temple of God (the Lord Jesus Christ), going into the Jewish temple at Jerusalem. His body being the Temple of God is clearly set out for us in his own words spoken after he first purged the Jewish temple. John 2:18 Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? 19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. 20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? 21 But he spake of the temple of his body.
But in the very next verse we find that it takes a resurrected man to understand this! John 2:22 When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said. And it is clear that even his ‘parents’ didn’t perceive this as stated in verse 50 of our above listed text. But here is the Apostle Paul’s statement regarding this: Colossians 2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. He is the embodiment, or temple of Almighty God.
Just think of these truths: Where are all our spiritual blessings? And where were we chosen before the foundation of the world? – In Christ! Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
And in whom are we made accepted? And in whom shall everything be gathered together? – Again, in Christ! Ephesians 1:6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
Therefore, just as religion seeks their god in their buildings and temples, so we have all our blessings and our communion with the true and living God in Christ, our temple! Acts 17:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; Revelation 21:22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.
God’s true temple, (speaking of the union of Christ, the Head, and the church, his Body), is a growing, spiritual organism, not a religious organization! 1 Corinthians 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? For the very ‘materials’ which make up this holy habitation are living stones! 1 Peter 2:4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
It is a temple where God dwells. And we know he does not dwell in man-made structures, but only in the believers who gather in their meeting houses! Acts 17:24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Ephesians 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
Therefore we see that Mary brought the child Jesus to the temple in earthly Jerusalem according to the law. But the Lord Christ would bring her to the spiritual temple in the Jerusalem which is above (Gal. 4:26), according to the grace and Spirit of God! For we do see her later on resurrection ground awaiting the Holy Spirit with those in the upper room. Acts 1:13 And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. 14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.
But here in our text we find her and Joseph leaving the Lord Jesus behind, “supposing him to have been in the company” of the pilgrims from Nazareth who had made their way to Jerusalem. And discovering his absence they seek him among the families and acquaintances. Many, separated from the Lord by their worldly distractions, seek him among religious persons with whom they are acquainted. But they shall not find him except they come to the Person of Christ, in his identity as the very temple of God!
And having spent three days looking for him, whom it had only taken one day to lose, they finally come to the temple and locate him there. Mary, like a typical mother, derides the child thinking only from the concept of their stress, taking side with her husband. …and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. Then he answers her with a teaching question. And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? What he is asking is, “Why did you not know where I was immediately upon missing me? Why did you not know that I would be right here in the physical place and building that pictures me and my purpose of life?”
He was saying, “You are the ones who taught me about this temple. You are the ones who brought me to this temple every year of my life.” This is one of the reasons for Mary being called, “highly favoured” of God! She both obeyed the law and taught it to her son! Luke 1:28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among (not “above”) women. Matthew 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Deuteronomy 4:9 Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons; 6:7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children,…
So the Lord Jesus was reminding them that his asking questions of the learned doctors in the temple (v.46), should have been reminiscent of his earlier inquisitiveness to them concerning the lambs being sacrificed, and all the other temple matters that revealed to him his purpose as the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world! (John 1:29). Proverbs 20:11 Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.
For do you remember the passage from John chapter two, listed above, where the Lord had just cleansed the temple, and had been asked by the Jews just what sign he gave for his doing so? Well, the very verse just prior to that passage reveals the inner heart of the Savior concerning the subject matter of the temple. John 2:17 And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up. His zeal was centered in what? – thine house!
Compare two verses that precede and follow this passage. Prior to going to the temple on this year’s trip he was said to be filled with wisdom. But upon returning from this experience, after learning greater truths from the Rabbi’s concerning the temple, it is said that he was increased in wisdom! Luke 2:40 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him. 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man. Therefore we come to understand that the matter of the contact with the temple in Jerusalem and the association with its attenders, gave opportunity for God to teach his Son concerning the things of Himself! Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead;…
He was truly made like unto his brethren, (Heb. 2:17), in that the Holy Spirit measured out to him as the Son of man, the same daily, progressive growth that would reflect our’s in receiving our daily bread of revelation! And there came a point in his progressive, spiritual growth that he came to know all things! John 13:3 Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God; 4 He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. 19:28 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. Amazing! Great IS the mystery of godliness: God manifest in the flesh! (1 Timothy 3:16).
And as he was astounded at his mother not knowing exactly where to find him, having taught him herself, so he was amazed at Nicodemus, being a teacher in Israel and not knowing heavenly things! John 3:10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? 11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. 12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? For one of the things that Jesus ‘knew,’ without doubt, was that as he had been taught in the inner man by the Holy Spirit, so he could identify all true believers by this same criteria! John 6:45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.
For he would transfer these same teaching methods upon his own disciples, throughout the ages, that he had learned in his earthly walk in the Spirit! John 8:28 Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. 20:21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
We must also notice that it was in the matter of the temple that Satan brought one third of his temptation again the Lord Jesus! For in Matthew 4:5-7 we have the account that the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down:
This was a most powerful trial for the Son of man! For he would be pressured by religious influences all his entire ministry to prove himself to be the very Son of God! Even his family are on record as laying hold on him and stating that he was beside himself! (Mark 3:21). That is, they were so ashamed at all the disturbance caused in their land concerning him that they tried to restrain him and proclaim that he was bewitched!
And why did Satan think that this temple temptation was of such potential as to cause the Son of God to fall? Not only because Satan himself had been so humiliated by God in his own great fall! Luke 10:18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. But there was also another motive other than revenge! There was the lie for deception of souls for which Satan is particularly noted. And it included that which he is even using today to deceive religion. – The perversion of the truth of the Scriptures. Mal. 3:1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. He wanted the Lord Jesus to commit this personal display and sin in the pride of life, by a spectacular entrance into temple life!
Pastor Gene Breed, December 26, 2013