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Greater Than the Temple?

Daily Reading: Matthew 12


Scripture Focus: I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. (Matthew 12.6-7)


Devotional Thought: Back in the day I used to watch the TV sitcom "Everybody Loves Raymond." I still remember the scene when Marie took the plastic cover off the couch. That couch had been enshrouded for years. It was in 'mint condition,' but, it had never provided the family rest and comfort. Some folks treat religion that way: stiff, formal, to be preserved and protected. We need to always be aware of what true religion is all about.


Jesus brought true religion to the dead legalists of his day. But they did not recognize it. He made the claim that he himself - or at least the Kingdom he embodied - was 'greater than the temple'! That was sacrilege to those earnest religionists!


Jesus internalized and personalized religion. Because he is Emmanuel, he made a way for God to be with man: "For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, 'I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people'" (2 Corinthians 6.16).

As Christians and churches age, care must be taken to keep buildings and rituals from becoming the focus. It is easier to take care of the outer temple than to care for the temple within. It's not as painful, not as intrusive, not as demanding to give attention to the outer trappings. But, what is more important? Paint and carpet or patience and care? Methods and style or mercy and sacrifice?


Prayer: Lord, help me to always keep my spirit alive by giving my attention to the inner rather than the outer temple. As I have received your mercy, help me to show mercy.

Psalm of the Day: 9 Do to them as you did to Midian, as to Sisera and Jabin at the river Kishon, 10 who were destroyed at En-dor, who became dung for the ground. 11 Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb, all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna, 12 who said, "Let us take possession for ourselves of the pastures of God." 13 O my God, make them like whirling dust, like chaff before the wind. 14 As fire consumes the forest, as the flame sets the mountains ablaze, 15 so may you pursue them with your tempest and terrify them with your hurricane! 16 Fill their faces with shame, that they may seek your name, O LORD. 17 Let them be put to shame and dismayed forever; let them perish in disgrace, 18 that they may know that you alone, whose name is the LORD, are the Most High over all the earth. (Psalms 83:9-18)

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