Sunday is coming! Lent 3B “Raising it up”

“Destroy this Temple and in three days I will raise it up.” (John 2:19)

Sometimes I pray for Jesus to just tear the whole thing down. The Church. Society. Politics. Media. Everything. All of it. Not a stone left on top of another stone. Reboot the whole thing and start over. Corruption. Scandals. Vileness. Entrenchment. Self-centeredness. Hypocrisy. Sin. Why leave it at chasing out the money-changers? Purge the whole thing. Get rid of everything and everyone – and finally we could begin to build the change we all long to see in the world.

It seems at first that Jesus might agree with me. “Destroy this Temple and in three days I will raise it up.” Yes…Tear it down!

The Temple and its money changers, the power-seekers and the holy-rollers exemplify everything that is wrong with the whole bit. Tear it down. Leave it in ashes. Destroy it all. But remember your promise to raise it back up. Please, Lord Jesus…Do it.

As much as I feel it would be a great plan to start our culture over from scratch; in this case Jesus isn’t talking about society, religion, politics, our sorry excuse for justice or any other constructions we humans build around ourselves that keep us from seeing the truth about God, ourselves or our neighbors. Those walls need to come down to be sure (and they will!), but Jesus isn’t talking about starting new and better versions of the systems that are crumbling around us now.

Jesus is talking about himself.

“Destroy this Temple and in three days I will raise it up.” (John 2:19)

Take Jesus to the cross on Friday, and you’ll end up with Easter three days later. Or to put it another way – just when we think Jesus is finished – it is really just the beginning of what he has been up to all along. A new world is already being raised-up around us in Christ. It can’t be housed in any of our buildings or any other human-designed structures or institutions. Those things are way too confining for the risen Jesus who rules the universe, comes to us now.

Push away the rubble. Join the revolution. Enter grace. Jesus reveals that power, prestige, privilege, preferences, wealth and all the buildings in the world are meaningless – because only what is raised-up matters. You matter. Your neighbor matters. The world matters. Crucify Jesus and the reign of Christ enters where you least expect it. Take up that cross in his call to follow him and see what changes around you. Jesus called his mission “the kingdom” and he located it within lives transformed to love with reckless abandon — where there is a place for everyone; where no one goes without; where pain and sorrow are met by healing and wholeness; where death has lost its sting; where sin is forgiven and remembered no more; where swords are beaten into plowshares; where the lowly are lifted-up; where relationships are renewed and communities are restored; where evil is defeated once and for all; where light shines in the darkness and the darkness shall not overcome it.

“Destroy this Temple and in three days I will raise it up.” (John 2:19)

Easter is coming. I’m ready.

Are you?


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