Discovering how to use fire. The beginning of civilization in the Fertile Crescent. Rome building a mighty empire. The invention of controlled electricity. The Declaration of Independence and the subsequent Treaty of Paris.
All major moments in history, yet they are not even worthy of a footnote in the light of the greatest moment.
Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” – John 2:19 ESV
Sure, all of those events have had major effects on our lives today – and they wouldn’t be the same otherwise – but the fact that life is ours is greater than that all.
Without the raising of that temple, we are inmates on death’s row. And we closed our own cells, throwing the keys away out of reach.
While none of us could avoid our death row sentence, hope and even certainty persist – not of death, but of life. Not by our own works, but by the grace and mercy gifted to us. As we sat in the darkness of the cell, a great light shined, and shines, and will shine forevermore.
The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shone. – Isaiah 9:2 ESV
We find ourselves sitting not in that cell that is such a blurred and distant memory, but walking as citizens in the kingdom of light. Walking free, and never to be subject to that eternal sentence of death. Life eternal is our new verdict, as the judge proclaimed us innocent.
Of course, though the cup of the eternal consequence is removed from us, the case doesn’t just close. Rather, someone else is investigated and tried. In this case, the innocent dies for the guilty, the pure for the wicked, the perfect for the corrupt, the worthy for the unworthy.
The crowd chanted “Crucify him!” and the temple was torn down in the most painful way 1st century torture could produce (and it hasn’t been matched since).
On the third day, the stone was moved and the tomb was empty. The temple was not a corpse, but was living. The Word of God who had taken on human flesh in our world He crated, came to suffer and die on our behalf. But no longer is death known as the end, for it has been conquered and defeated.
When the temple that is the body of Christ rose again on Easter Sunday and came to walk among us once again, offering to the world His Gospel message.
God Himself entered the world that we may live forever and not suffer damnation, as He took it upon Himself to suffer such a fate.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, – John 11:25 ESV