Laying Down Our LivesWhat sometimes holds you back from laying down your life for others?
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FRIDAY, DECEMBER 30
Passion for God’s house will consume me (v.17).
House of Herod,” reads the heading to a chart in my study Bible. The graphic shows a family tree beginning with Herod “the Great.” He’s known—among other things—for killing the baby boys of Bethlehem. Herod fathered Herod Antipas, who married his brother’s ex-wife and executed John the Baptist. There’s Salome, the granddaughter whose dance “won” that execution. Don’t forget Herod Agrippa I, the grandson who murdered James the brother of John (see Acts 12:1–2).
Herod the Great did commission a magnificent temple for the people. However, first-century historian Josephus said he did this to make a name for himself.
Against Herod’s misguided quest for immortality stands the immortal One who had much to do with the temple— Jesus. Early in His ministry, Jesus threw a bunch of merchants out of the temple, saying, “Stop turning my Father’s house into a marketplace!” (John 2:16). This infuriated the Jewish leaders. “If God gave you authority to do this, show us a miraculous sign to prove it,” they demanded (v.18). Jesus’ response was fraught with significance: “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (v.19).
“It has taken forty-six years to build this Temple, and you can rebuild it in three days?” asked the leaders (v.20). They never forgot His claim and later threw it in His face as part of their plot to crucify Him (Matthew 26:61). Soldiers nailed Him to a cross, but three days later Jesus rose again.
Herod’s temple was dismantled brick by brick in AD 70, and Herod’s name lives only in infamy. In contrast, we come to our heavenly Father in the name of Jesus, whose passion for His Father’s house lives on. He’s the cornerstone of an everlasting building made up of all who believe in Him (1 Peter 2:4-7). —Tim Gustafson
What motivates you in your work today? Your own fame? Or God’s greater glory? What does it mean for you to be part of God’s eternal “building”?
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