If Jesus is God dwelling among us, what more do we need?
Have you ever wondered why Jesus storms the temple in John’s Gospel, overturning the moneychangers’ tables and wreaking havoc in the marketplace? The disciples believe that he is standing up for God’s house, that the merchants who have set up shop must somehow be defiling this sacred space. They have encountered the love of God in the person of Jesus, yet their reading remains literal… but we know there is more going on here. Destroy this temple, Jesus says, and I will rebuild it in three days. His reference is, of course, to the temple of his body: Jesus carries the presence of God within him, is the presence of God among them. And Jesus will be the final sacrifice necessary: we proclaim Christ crucified, Paul tells the Corinthians, we proclaim a Christ whose final act, whose ultimate sacrifice, is beyond our comprehension; it is wiser than human wisdom, stronger than human strength.
We don’t fully understand all the implications of Jesus’ sacrifice for the redemption of humankind. We can follow God’s commandments as set out in Exodus, and trust, as God tells Moses, that God will bestow mercy down to the thousandth generation on the children of those who love him. These are the words of everlasting life, as Psalm 19 proclaims. But, as Paul says, neither signs nor wisdom suffice: neither is as strong as faith. We discover God partially in the law and in wisdom – but God works beyond these limits, and God’s love has no boundaries. This, then, is the challenge: to encounter the love of God, to find Jesus, dwelling among us – and to turn toward that love, in faith, to follow it no matter what it demands of us. If our hearts open us to the power of Jesus to save us, what more do we need, really?
This post is based on Fr. Pat's Scripture class.Image source: Wordle