What an invitation…Jesus knocking AND apparently speaking…offering to enter and share the most basic part of life with us, on a regular basis. It’s a glorious and familiar invitation. But there are another eight verses that surround this verse that make you realize there’s more to consider here. Jesus is speaking to His church, His people of faith, the very people who’ve already heard His voice! Jesus has told us in John 14 about our place in His house of many rooms. Don’t all those rooms have doors too? That’s the “Revelation!” Jesus wants so much more for our life than a one-and-done moment. He wants full permission to access every room.a He wants an ongoing and on-growing relationship. He wants us to open every door to Him; our will, our self-sufficiency, our ears and our heart.
a My Heart Christ’s Home
John 2:13 The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers at their business. 15 And making a whip of cords, he drove them all, with the sheep and oxen, out of the temple; and he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; you shall not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for thy house will consume me.” 18 The Jews then said to him, “What sign have you to show us for doing this?” 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” 21 But he spoke of the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken. 23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs which he did; 24 but Jesus did not trust himself to them, 25 because he knew all men and needed no one to bear witness of man; for he himself knew what was in man. RSV
What is the general theme of the passage?
Jesus confronts the “legal” preparations, obligations and rationalizations for the Passover market that has made the Temple a place of diversion instead of a place to prepare yourself for true Worship. The focus of worship must be changed from a place to a person. “And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.” Revelation 21:22 ESV
What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
Jesus, “the Lamb,” is fully man so he knows how easily our minds, heart and souls can be diverted. Jesus is “the Almighty” too, so His heart is determined we must NOT get away with allowing even the legal props of faith to divert us from true Worship.
What does it say about people?
People love ritual! And preparation really is essential to worship. The first Sign of Jesus was the wine…and the disciples believed. This Sign of Jesus’s anger is going to be the memory prompt of their belief in what they have learned and remembered about the truth of walking, and working with Jesus.
Is there truth here for me?
These words of John reveal how different my experience with Jesus is to that show-stopping action of His anger in the Temple. But life with “the Lord God Almighty AND the Lamb” is the challenge Jesus and John have made me aware of today. It’s made me consider two unique truths: Jesus, the Lamb, is determined to love me AND Jesus, the Lord God the Almighty, sometimes has to whip up my conscience with guilt to remind me I don’t want to make His “Father’s house a house of trade.”
Do you not know that you are God’s temple
and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?
I Corinthians 3:16
Posted in 1 Corinthians, John, Matthew, New Testament, Old Testament, Revelation
Tagged Conscience, Lamb, Memory, Preparation, The Almighty, Worship
I found the Word of the New Living Translation helpful to my thoughts about this last, third chapter. The verses about each of the three churches of Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea are arranged in that same sequence under each of my headings, what Jesus knows, what Jesus asks and what Jesus vows. It is one way to understand how this revelation of their history impacts our future and confirms Scripture is still living Word that challenges the church of Jesus Christ and His people today.
What Jesus knows:
• 1 “I know all the things you do, and that you have a reputation for being alive—but you are dead. 2 Wake up! Strengthen what little remains, for even what is left is almost dead… your actions do not meet the requirements of my God.
• 8 “I know all the things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can close. You have little strength, yet you obeyed my word and did not deny me.
• 15 “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other!
What Jesus asks:
• 3 Go back to what you heard and believed at first; hold to it firmly. Repent and turn to me again.
• 11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take away your crown.
• 19 So be diligent and turn from your indifference.
What Jesus vows:
• 5 All who are victorious will be clothed in white. I will never erase their names from the Book of Life, but I will announce before my Father and his angels that they are mine.
• 12 All who are victorious will become pillars in the Temple of my God, and they will never have to leave it. And I will write on them the name of my God, and they will be citizens in the city of my God—the new Jerusalem that comes down from heaven from my God. And I will also write on them my new name.
• 20 “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. 21 Those who are victorious will sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on his throne.
√ Re·new·al: the replacing or repair of something that is worn out, run-down, or broken
1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. 2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. 4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first…7 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
I’ve looked for evidence in these second chapters of God’s continuing desire to replace and repair what is worn out, run-down, or broken. That word “broken” has been a part of every post. God created life to be an unending circle for those first two people but they broke the circle because they violated the rule of one unique tree. “The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” Why two unique trees? I know what the results of that break are and I know Revelation 2 is the answer that repairs that broken circle.
Despite our best efforts here on earth perfection is still lost. God has noticed our desire has changed from being content to know His perfection to the confusion of trying our best to sort out the knowledge of good and evil. “I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance…you cannot tolerate wicked people.” I know “that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.” I know “You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary…Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. ”
Here’s the Good News from Revelation 2 about that other unique tree. “The tree of life” is still standing, untouched, and we still have it’s promise of that first love. There is repair and renewal for that worn out, run-down, or broken circle. “Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’
Revelation 1:1 This is the revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to him, to show his servants what must soon happen. And Jesus sent his angel to show it to his servant John, 2 who has told everything he has seen. It is the word of God; it is the message from Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed is the one who reads the words of God’s message, and blessed are the people who hear this message and do what is written in it. The time is near when all of this will happen. [NCV]
I began The Firsts on January 6, 2019 with a big idea from Matthew’s genealogy list. That list was God’s reminder of lives that were sometimes divine and sometimes way too human but they were part of His Story. For that reason that list has become part of my own revelation. The Firsts have all confirmed God works His Story THROUGH people…not BECAUSE of them.
God’s genealogy is still a reminder of faithful and imperfect lives and now it includes their descendants too. That’s us, and we fit right into my description of that list, sometimes divine and sometimes way too human. Revelation confirms God is still determined to make plain the consequences of what man in his own spirit is willing to ignore at the same time His Word is revealing the reality of the power his Son has to change lives and here’s the big truth of Revelation; Jesus wins!
The last of The Firsts – Revelation 1 has coincided with Easter Week. I’m grateful for that because the one part of the many mysteries of John’s prophecy I understand with some clarity is “the revelation of Jesus Christ” has happened in me. The miracle of His Story is that God continues “to show His servants what must soon happen” THROUGH His sovereignty, not because he’s had to work around the faithful but imperfect people in His genealogy. “Blessed are the people who hear this message and do what is written in it.”
Revelation 3:8 I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.
Quote from Oswald Chambers – My Utmost For His Highest”
“God does not tell you what He is going to do— He reveals to you who He is.”
So does that mean God is showing me through his opening of doors the paths he wants me to take? I had to ponder the Open Door idea a bit. I do think God is always in charge of doors. Only he knows what he’s going to do and how he’s going to show you who he is. I like the image of a “hand-holding” Christ.
In my life this is how it’s worked. Sometimes I’ve gone through an open door and have discovered new strengths and abilities I didn’t know I had. Christ was holding my hand, pulling me along saying “Come on, let’s do it together.” He was there.
There have been other times I’ve gone through an open door expecting the same result only to find disappointment and even failure. The same Christ was holding my hand and saying the same words “Come on, let’s do it together” with a totally different outcome, but… He was there.
Open Doors are not guarantees, they are opportunities. As long as you recognize those two things you can choose that open door with the best possible information you have, and confidence. Then hang on to his hand for dear life. He’ll be there.