June 22, 2011

Thursday after Trinity Sunday

Lectionary

Morning - Ps. 9, Num. 20:1-13, Lk. 1:57-66
Evening - Ps. 27, Haggai 2:1-9, Acts 7:54-8:4

Commentary

The Temple in Jerusalem had been destroyed when Babylon sacked the city in 586 B.C.
That Temple is often called Solomon's Temple because it was built while he was king of Israel, and it was largely financed by him through a system of forced labour and foreign trade that made Solomon fabulously wealthy. The Temple reflected his wealth. In Haggai's day things were different. Jerusalem was in ruins and Judah was in poverty. Even with the funds given by Cyrus, the Temple would be a poor reflection of the glory of Solomon's Temple (Hag. 2:3).

Or would it? Perhaps the real glory of the Temple cannot be found in its dimensions or ornaments. Perhaps the Temple's real glory is measured by other things, like the faith of the people, obedience to God's law, and Scriptural worship. Maybe the real glory of the Temple is something even greater than that; maybe it is something that cannot be given or removed by people. Maybe it is the glory of God dwelling in it that is its true glory. This is the point God is making through the prophet Haggai. And God intends to make His Temple more glorious than the people of Jerusalem in 520 B. C. could imagine. In a little while (2:6) God was going to shake the nations, and the Desire of Nations would come, and God would fill the Temple with His glory (2:7). The Desire of Nations is Christ. He filled the Temple with glory when He was taken there as a young child, when He later confounded the Doctors at Passover, and when He taught the people there during His ministry. He filled it with glory when He accomplished the salvation it could only foreshadow, and when He gave Himself as the Lamb of God which alone is able to take away sins. He filled it with glory when, in the true Holy of Holies in Heaven, He offered the true sacrifice. He filled it with glory when He rose from the grave and ascended into the true Temple of God. He fills it with glory now in the days of His new Temple, the Church. In the Church He brings the nations into His Kingdom, proclaims His Word, dwells by His Spirit, and gives the kind of peace a Temple built by human hands could never give.