Prince of Peace: From the Cradle to the Crown and Beyond
Beyond the Resurrection: Inside-Out
The “Beyond” of our series focuses on post-Resurrection events, including directives or admonitions for Christ’s followers (i.e., Christians). Thus far we have briefly contemplated the Significance of the Resurrection, the Prince of Peace Promises His Peace, and the Conspiracy of Love (a.k.a., “The Great Commission”). There are three remaining posts in this series: “Inside-Out”; “Mustard-Seed-Sized Faith”, and “Jesus’ Real Crime.”
Today we will explore the concept of “Inside-Out”. When we hear the words inside-out we may think about clothing being put on inside-out. We teach children to look for clues when they are dressing (e.g., the tag inside clothes ‘goes in the back’ or ‘the tag goes on the inside’). Getting organized is another idea that zeroes in on the inside-out process. For example, Julie Morgenstern’s book, “Organizing from the Inside Out”, combines personality and habits to create a practical plan to get organized. Having a workable plan for our spiritual growth also begins from the inside-out, but it’s the Holy Spirit that does this work in us.
We recently examined Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple at the beginning (Jn. 2: 13-17) and at the end (Mt. 21: 12-16; Lk. 19: 45-46) of His ministry. After preaching about the Kingdom, and how to enter it, the second purification must have been even more dismal than the first. Once again, Jesus had to give an eviction notice to the merchants’ avarice and the bankers’ reminding them that the Temple was a house of prayer and not an overpriced farmer’s market (Mt. 21:13). But is that the only reason that Jesus returned to purify the Temple a second time?
Jesus’ purposes for cleansing the Temple included introducing a New Covenant. The Temple, along with the sacrificial system, was part of the Old Covenant. However, the inflated price for livestock and charging people exorbitant amounts in currency exchanges had become part of the corruption of the old system. Furthermore, the Old Covenant--based on rules-- underscored the fact that people couldn’t live blameless lives. So Jesus established a New Covenant, in which He is the Temple, and He made this clear: “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken,” (Jn. 2: 19-22, NIV).
Thus, Jesus referred to His body as the Temple, and Paul pointed out that we are the Temple of the Holy Spirit, "Don't you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple,” (1 Cor. 3: 16-17, NIV). We need to avoid the temptation to engage in anything that would corrupt the New Covenant (e.g., we must avoid being pretentious or showing favourtism). Additionally, we must be cleansed and changed from the inside out. Similar to Jesus purifying the Temple, we accept and invite Him to purify us (Ps. 51:10). Let this be our prayer:
Spirit of the Living God, Fall afresh on me. (2x)
Melt me, mould me, fill me, use me.
Spirit of the Living God, Fall afresh on me.
[NB: For an excellent chart that compares the Old and New Covenants, please see: https://www.gci.org/law/oldandnew ]
Blessings & Peace
Elizabeth Hogan Hayduk
Former Salvation Army Officer (pastor)