By Stuart Powell
During the construction of the first temple in Jerusalem, Solomon received a message from Yahweh God:
As for this temple you are building, if you follow my decrees, observe my laws and keep all my commands and obey them, I will fulfill through you the promise I gave to David your father. And I will live among the Israelites and will not abandon my people Israel (1 Kings 6:11-13).
David designed the temple, Solomon built it, but God conceived the faith upon which Solomon’s temple stood. That temple in Jerusalem was one of a multitude built throughout the history of humanity. All ancient temples were intended as places where the worshipper could connect with their deity. Unlike temples built to false gods, however, Solomon’s temple would not endure through the gifts of the worshippers. God said he would sustain it in response to the trusting obedience of the faithful. That was the promise God made to Solomon.
Jesus made a similar promise:
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (Matthew 16:16-18).
Jesus conceived, designed, and is building his church, which is a more permanent temple than Solomon’s. This church is sustained by God through faithful confession and submission to Jesus, God’s Messiah and master of every part of our lives.
Gathering around this table is part of that confession. At this time we remember that Jesus sacrificed his life to redeem ours. In these emblems, the bread and the cup, we remember and relive his suffering, and we allow God to build us into that holy temple where God dwells. As we partake, let’s recommit to living out the faith we confess in Jesus.
Stuart Powell lives outside of Terre Haute, Indiana, where he serves with the North Side Christian Church.