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Humble Hero

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    The Beginning of the Final Rejection of Christ

    The priests and rulers should have seen that Jesus was the Anointed of the Lord, for they held the sacred scrolls that described His mission. They knew that the cleansing of the temple showed more than human power. Much as they hated Jesus, they could not free themselves from the thought that He might be a prophet God had sent to restore the temple’s sanctity. With a respect born of this fear, they went to Him and asked, “What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?”HH 68.2

    Jesus had shown them a sign. In doing the work that the Messiah was to do, He had given convincing evidence of His character. Now He answered them by a parable, showing that He read their evil intent and saw where it would lead. “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”HH 68.3

    In these words, He referred not only to the destruction of the Jewish temple and worship, but to His own death—the destruction of the temple of His body. The Jews were already plotting to kill Him. As the priests and rulers returned to the temple, they had proposed to kill Jesus and so be rid of the troubler. Yet they took His words as applying only to the temple at Jerusalem, and they exclaimed indignantly, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” Now they felt that Jesus had justified their unbelief, and they were confirmed in rejecting Him.HH 68.4

    Christ knew that His enemies would twist His words and turn them against Him. At His trial and on Calvary, they would fling these words at Him. But to explain them now would give His disciples a knowledge of His sufferings and bring on them sorrow that they were not yet able to bear. And an explanation would prematurely reveal to the Jews the result of their prejudice and unbelief. They had already entered on a path that they would steadily follow until He would be led as a lamb to the slaughter.HH 68.5

    Christ knew that these words would be repeated. Spoken at the Passover, they would come to the ears of thousands who would then carry them to all parts of the world. After He had risen from the dead, their meaning would be plain. To many, they would be conclusive evidence of His divinity.HH 68.6

    The Savior’s words, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up,” had a deeper meaning than the hearers grasped. The temple services symbolized the sacrifice of the Son of God. The entire plan of sacrificial worship foreshadowed the Savior’s death to redeem the world. The ritual system had no value apart from Him. When the Jews sealed their rejection of Christ by delivering Him to death, they rejected everything that gave significance to the temple and its services. Its sacredness had ended. It was doomed to destruction. From that day, sacrificial offerings were meaningless. In putting Christ to death, the Jews virtually destroyed their temple. When Christ was crucified, the inner veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, signifying that the great final sacrifice had been made. The system of sacrificial offerings was forever at an end.HH 69.1

    “In three days I will raise it up.” From the opened tomb of Joseph, Jesus came out as a Conqueror. By His death and resurrection, He became the minister of the “true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man.” Hebrews 8:2. Men had constructed the Jewish temple, but the sanctuary above was built by no human architect.HH 69.2

    ““‘The Man whose name is the BRANCH! ...
    He shall build the temple of the Lord; ...
    He shall bear the glory,
    And shall sit and rule on His throne;
    So shall He be a priest on His throne.”’”
    Zechariah 6:12, 13
    HH 69.3

    The sacrificial service that had pointed to Christ came to an end, but the eyes of men and women were turned to the true sacrifice for the sins of the world. The earthly priesthood ceased, but we look to Jesus, the Minister of the new covenant. “The way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing. ... But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, ... by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” Hebrews 9:8-12, KJV.HH 69.4

    “Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He ever lives to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:25. Though the heavenly sanctuary and our great High Priest would be invisible to human sight, yet the disciples would experience no break in their fellowship and no reduction of power because of the Savior’s absence. While Jesus ministers in the sanctuary above, by His Spirit He is still the Minister of the church on earth. His parting promise is fulfilled, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20. His energizing presence is still with His church.HH 69.5

    “We do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:15, 16.HH 69.6

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