Jesus and the Temple

January 29, 2017 ()

Bible Text: John 2:12-25 |

Series:

Jesus and the Temple | John 2:12-25
Brian Hedges | January 29, 2017

Good morning. Let’s turn in our Bibles this morning to John, the second chapter. We are continuing our study in the gospel of John, coming today to John 2:12-25. . .so, the second half of this chapter.

John 2:12-25: After this he went down to Capernaum, with his mother and his brothers and his disciples, and they stayed there for a few days. 13 The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. 15 And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” 18 So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” 21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken. 23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. 24 But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people 25 and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.

This is God’s Word.

We’re looking, this morning, at this story of Jesus and His visit to the temple. . .the cleansing of the temple. Before we get into the text, there is just kind of a technical matter to address, and that is the question of chronology and of harmony with the other three gospels.

If you know your Bibles, you’ll know that in all of the four gospels, there are stories about Jesus going to the temple—but there is an apparent problem. In the other three gospels, the story of Jesus going to the temple takes place at the end of His ministry. It’s in Matthew 21, Mark 11, and Luke 19, and it’s really the beginning of the last week of Jesus’ life. His cleansing of the temple, in those passages, is the event that leads straight to the crucifixion. . .but in the gospel of John, it seems to take place at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry.

And so, it raises a question: Is this a contradiction? Is there some kind of discrepancy here in the gospel record? And the answer is, not at all. There are two possibilities for harmonizing these accounts. On the one hand, John’s language, we need to understand, does not necessarily require us to see this and other episodes in this section of the chapter as taking place in a strict chronological order. John, very clearly, has a theological agenda as he weaves the gospel together, and John—unlike the other gospels—spends a lot of his time focusing on Jesus’ ministry in Jerusalem and in Judea. And so, he looks at several times where Jesus visits Jerusalem.

On the other hand, there are reasons to think that the event recorded here actually did take place earlier in Jesus’ ministry, and that there were, in fact, two cleansings of the temple—this first one, and then a second one, which reads slightly differently in the other gospels.

Conservative scholars come down on both sides of the debate, and however we look at, there are plausible, and easy ways, really, to harmonize these accounts—so that we need not view it as a contradiction. What’s important for us to notice this morning is just what Jesus does when He comes to the temple, and the lessons it has to teach us today. To do that, I want to talk about three things.

To set the stage, I want us to understand the importance of the temple. Then secondly, I want us to see how Jesus cleanses the temple and then, thirdly, how in Jesus’ somewhat mysterious answer to those who questioned him and asked for a sign, we have an indication of the replacement of the temple. So, the importance of the temple, the cleansing of the temple, and the replacement of the temple

Those are the three points—the scaffolding—on which we hang everything this morning.

I. The Importance of the Temple

We just can’t overestimate how important the temple was in the life of the Jewish person. Much more important, even, than the local church is in the life of a believer, because so much happened at the temple. Here’s one of the best summary statements I know of (this is brief) from N. T. Wright: “The Temple was the beating heart of Judaism. It wasn’t just, as it were, a church on a street corner. It was the center of worship and music, of politics and society, of national celebration and mourning.”

It was as if you took the greatest cathedral in the United States, along with the Pentagon, along with the White House, along with the greatest centers of business and commerce. . .combined them all into one. . .and built a whole city around that! That’s what the temple was like. In fact, it wasn’t like a little temple with a large city around it. It was a large temple, with a city that was built around it—but the temple took up the majority of Jerusalem. That’s just how important it was. . .the beating heart of Judaism.

And we’ve got to grasp this. We’ve got to grasp the significance of the temple in the biblical mind and imagination, and there are three ways we can get at it. There are three ways in which the temple was significant. We could put it this way,

(1) The temple was, first of all, the place of glory. The temple was the place where God manifested his glory. It was the intersection between heaven and earth. It was God’s space on earth. You remember that when that prototype of the temple—the tabernacle—was built, in the book of Exodus, chapter 40. After Moses had done everything that God had commanded, we read that the glory of God came down and filled the house! And this glory cloud then dwelt in the tabernacle and every place where it was taken. When the tent was taken down, the glory cloud would lead them through the wilderness. They’d put the tabernacle up and the glory cloud was there.

The same is true of the temple itself. The first building of the temple, of course, was done by Solomon, and we have the record of that in 1 Kings 8:10-11: “When the priests came out of the Holy Place, a cloud filled the house of the LORD, 11 so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD.” The temple was a place of glory. It was the place where God manifested his presence to his people. It was sacred space—God’s dwelling place on earth.

(2) The temple was, secondly, a place of grace. It was the place where sacrifices were offered, where atonement for sin was made, where forgiveness was received. It was the place where the priests would offer these sacrifices, and then blood would be sprinkled on the people, and they would be assured of God’s forgiveness and His cleansing. So, it was the center of Israel’s worship, in every sense of the word.

(3) The temple was thirdly, the place of worship and celebration. This is the place where the annual feasts and festivals took place. And just think about the stories in Scripture, of celebration—these lengthy celebrations and festivals and feasts that would take place in Jerusalem—and you begin to get some of the significance of the temple.

Now, the only way for us to grasp the significance of this passage is for us to remember just how significant it is to have relationship with God. The temple was the center point of that relationship with God in the Old Testament.

Here’s the big difference between their culture and ours. In our culture, people who believe in God tend to take a relationship with God almost for granted. We live, after all, in a democratic, egalitarian world – gone is the hierarchy and the ceremony and majesty that characterized most cultures in most centuries prior to ours. We don’t have anything like that in our culture today. We have little concept of the holy, of the divine. We don’t have any sense of what that theologian Rudolph Otto described as the mysterium tremendum et fascinans—that is, the mystery before which we tremble. . .but also, the mystery which fascinates us and which draws us. We don’t have much sense of that.

And so, when we read passages like this, initially it’s a little bit foreign to us. We don’t understand just how significant the temple was, and we don’t understand just how serious relationship with God was for them, because we tend to take it for granted.

We ought not take it for granted. When we read about the temple in Scripture, and we read about what Jesus does here in the temple—along with all of Jesus’ ministry—it should remind of us the gravity and the seriousness of relating to a holy God. It’s not something to take for granted. It’s something that comes only at great cost.

So this is the importance of the temple, and only in understanding this can we understand the significance of what Jesus now does.

II. The Cleansing of the Temple

You have this in verses 14-17, and here’s the situation: Jesus comes to the temple and he finds both merchants and moneychangers. The merchants are “selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers are also sitting there.”

Now, on one level, these things—in and of themselves—are not wrong. There had to be merchants who were selling animals because pilgrims were coming from all over Judea—indeed, from all over the Roman world. They were coming to offer sacrifices at the Passover. They couldn’t travel with animals that long distance, so when they came to Jerusalem, they had to be able to purchase an animal—and the appropriate animal—to make the sacrifice.

And in like manner, since they were coming from all over the world, the people were coming with all kinds of coinage—all kinds of money. But, in order for someone to pay the temple tax, the half shekel that each Jewish male 20 years old and up had to pay every year, in order for them to do that, they had to change their money into the appropriate kind of coin. So the moneychangers also were necessary.

So, these things—in and of themselves—were not wrong, yet Jesus cleanses them out of the temple. He chases them out of the temple. Jesus does something that can only be likened to something like street theater. It’s a symbolical act, and it’s something that surely would have shocked those around him. Why does he do this?

Now, some have supposed that Jesus drove the merchants and moneychangers from the temple because they were charging exorbitant rates, and they were fleecing the people of God. That’s possible. There’s nothing in the text itself that tell us that, though. I think there’s something else much more important than even that problem. I want to read you one brief quotation here that gets at it.

This is from Don Carson: “There is no evidence that the animal merchants and money-changers or the priestly authorities who allowed them to use the outer court were corrupt companions in graft. Jesus’ complaint is not that they are guilty of sharp business practices and should therefore reform their ethical life, but that they should be in the temple area at all. . . Instead of solemn dignity and the murmur of prayer, there is the bellowing of cattle and the bleating of sheep. Instead of brokenness and contrition, holy adoration and prolonged petition, there is noisy commerce.”

You see, here’s the problem: they weren’t taking seriously the worship of God. They were corrupting the worship of God. They had brought this merchandizing into the temple—into the temple itself! And Jesus comes in. This is to be a place of prayer; it is to be a place of worship. And rather than worship and any sense of gravity in the presence of God, instead of that, there’s all of this business going on. They had become utterly frivolous in their whole approach.

And so, this act of cleansing the temple is really two things: It is first of all an act of judgment, and it is secondly, an act of reform. Let’s think about each of these for a moment.

(1) First of all, it was an act of judgment. Jesus came to the temple, he witnessed the desecration, he saw the lack of reverence, he saw their distractions from worship and prayer, and from the Father’s glory, and it angered him, and he drove them out.

And he was really fulfilling the prophecies of Malachi 3 and Zechariah 14…

Malachi 3:1-3: “Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. 2 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap [that’s for cleansing]. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify [or cleanse] the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the LORD.”

Jesus is fulfilling that prophecy. The messenger of the covenant, coming to temple to cleanse it. It’s an act of judgment.

And then, Zechariah 14:21c: “And there shall no longer be a trader [or a merchant] in the house of the LORD of hosts on that day.”

Jesus is judging the temple; he’s correcting it; he’s cleansing it. And this has a very important thing to teach us (even though it may seem somewhat far removed from us today). This is the main application point. This is the thing I want you to get:

We must accept Jesus as he is, not as we want him to be. Have you thought about the contrast between this passage and last week’s passage, John 2:1-11? In that passage, Jesus is the Lord of the feast, who turns the water into wine in to keep the wedding celebration going! We like that. He’s a God of celebration. Here’s Jesus, full of joy, bringing joy, the Lord of the feast, the God of wine! But now we see Jesus as the Lord of the temple, driving out merchants and money-changers in a controlled demonstration of anger.

What we’ve got to get is this: all of these stories are revelations of Jesus. They are all revelations of the character of Jesus, and Jesus himself, a revelation of the character of God. This is, by the way, one argument for their authenticity. It’s hard to see how anyone could have constructed a Jesus that is this multi-dimensional. Lowly Jesus, meek and mild? That we can embrace. We love His gentleness, although this actually turns some cultures off. The weakness of the crucified Messiah is a stumbling block to many. That doesn’t offend most of us. But the Angry and Intolerant Jesus, consumed with zeal for his Father’s house? That doesn’t sit as well with us. But here’s what we need to understand: the Jesus of mercy is also the Jesus of judgment and justice. The God of wine and joy and celebration is also the God of the whip, the God of the angry countenance. And the same eyes that wept tears of compassion over Jerusalem, burned with fury as he saw the blasphemy and the desecration of his Father’s house.

We’ve got to accept this Jesus, Jesus in all of his many dimensions, in all of his complex character. And only in knowing this Jesus do we know the Jesus of the Bible, the God of Scripture.

(2) This was an act of justice, an act of judgment. And then secondly, it was an act of reform. Jesus was reforming the worship in the temple. Now, it’s so important for us to grasp the significance and the priority of reverence for God in worship.

You think about the Old Testament. I don’t know how long it’s been since you have read it; maybe some of you are reading it now—I hope you are. But, just slow down and notice what you’re reading. When you get into Exodus and Leviticus, don’t just think it’s boring! (Although, I know, it is a little bit.) But try to get past the monotony of reading about the laws and the rules and the details, and understand what’s going on. Here is a God who requires precision in how he is approached. That’s why these detailed instructions are given about the construction of the tabernacle and the exercise of the priesthood.

You get to Leviticus, chapter 10 – there’s some drama! Nadab and Abihu, they are the sons of Aaron, some of the first priests of Israel, the sons of the high priest. And they come before God and they offer strange fire, unauthorized fire. “And fire came out from before the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord” (Leviticus 10:2).

Or take the stories of Saul, the first king of Israel. Most of us know about his disobedience in the matter of the Amalekites. But before that, in 1 Samuel 13, Saul makes an unauthorized burnt offering to the Lord. It’s a burnt offering. It’s a sacrifice, but it’s not authorized. He wasn’t a priest. He was a king, and he wasn’t allowed to do this—and he did it anyway because Samuel wasn’t there. And as soon as Samuel comes on the scene, he sees what is done, and he questions Saul, and he says: “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the Lord your God, with which he commanded you” (1 Samuel 13:13b).

Take one other example. Do you remember the story of Uzzah, in 2 Samuel 6? King David has just been anointed over all of Israel. He has just won another victory against the armies of the Philistines. And now he wants to bring the ark of the covenant from the house of Abinidab into the city of Jerusalem. And they put the ark on a cart pulled by oxen (not following the instructions of God’s law), and the oxen stumble, and the ark is about to fall off, and Uzzah reaches out his hand to steady the ark. “And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and God struck him down there because of his error, and he died there beside the ark of God” (2 Samuel 6:7).

What are these passages teaching us? We are not Marcionites. Marcion was that early theologian who said, “Jesus is not the God of the Old Testament.” And he did away with the Old Testament , accepting just the New Testament. That’s not who we are. We worship the God of the Bible, and the God of the Old Testament is the God that Jesus reveals. What do we do with this? We have to learn that we serve a holy God, a God who requires that we worship him in a certain way.

There’s a story that is told about Richard Rogers, one of the very early Puritans in England. He was speaking to a local lord of a manor—a house—one day, who was accusing him of his precisionism—he was so precise. And Rogers said, “Sir, I serve a precise God.” Again, that offends the sensibilities of our culture; it maybe even rubs us a little wrong today, but we have to grasp here the significance of worshipping a God of holiness. Jesus understood that, and Jesus came reforming the church.

And the application, of course, for us, is that we should always be bringing our beliefs, our lifestyles, our practices of worship into alignment with the Word of God. Always reforming. . .

That was the statement of the Reformation: Ecclesia reformata et semper reformanda secundum verbum Dei, which means: “The church Reformed and always reforming according to the Word of God.”

Reformed. . .we’re always in the process of reforming. What does that mean? We should always be bringing our lives, our worship, our everything into alignment with the God Word, reforming the church.

That was really the impulse of the Protestant Reformation. Five hundred years since Luther nailed those Ninety-Five Theses on the Wittenburg Church door, October 31, 1517. We’re far enough removed from it that we forget what it was like. The church at that time was in darkness. The church services were in Latin, not in English. The people did not have the Word of God; they didn’t have the gospel preached in their language, in the vernacular. Instead, there was wide-spread superstition. The way people got sins forgiven (or rather, not even full forgiveness, but the way they just got time knocked off in purgatory) was by coming to venerate relics, and then by buying indulgences from the church.

The relics were these pieces and parts and artifacts from the saints. In Germany, for example, Frederick the Wise (who was Luther’s prince) had a huge, huge collection of these relics. There were: a genuine thorn from the crown of thorns that Jesus wore, a tooth from saint Jerome, 4 pieces of Chrysostom; 6 of St. Bernard; 4 of Augustine; 4 hairs from the head of the Virgin Mary, 3 pieces of her cloak; 1 piece from Christ’s swaddling clothes, a wisp of straw from His crib, and so on. The basic idea was this: the people could come and, if they would venerate these relics, they would get 100 years knocked off of purgatory for each one. So, if they did all of the relics—because Frederick had such a large collection—they could get 1,900,000 days knocked off of purgatory. That was the way they were approaching salvation!

And then, buying indulgences; what was that? Well, Pope Leo X was trying to rebuild St. Peter’s cathedral in Rome, and they needed money. And one of the ways they would get money would be by selling indulgences, where people would get time off from purgatory if they would contribute to the building of the church. And so, Pope Leo dispatched Johann Tetzel, who came through Germany raising money and selling indulgences. Roland Bainton, the historian, calls it “the bingo of the 16th century.” There were three requirements: contrition, confession, and contribution! And that’s why, when Luther nailed his 95 Theses on the church door, one of them said, “They preach human folly who pretend that as soon as money in the coffer rings, a soul from purgatory springs.” It was an eclipse of the gospel, and the church needed to be reformed.

Now, lest you think I’m just picking on Roman Catholics this morning, the church today needs reformation again. We still need to be reformed. The evangelical church needs to be reformed! Here’s one way we need to be reformed. I recently read a book called The Juvenilization of American Christianity, by Thomas Bergler. Bergler shows how the church in America, during the post-war years (the late ‘40s, the ‘50s and the ‘60s)—in their attempt to become relevant to the youth culture, radically changed the face of American Christianity, in ways that you and I don’t even recognize. . .because we’re so used to it now.

But, the church is very different now from what it was then. For example: the doctrinal, creedal content was minimized, which led to widespread biblical illiteracy. The language of youth culture was adopted—especially the language of personal happiness and fulfillment—leading to something of a “feel good” gospel, a false gospel, that now comes to us in full flower in the prosperity gospel.

And there are many other ways the church needs reformed. The point that I want us to grasp is this: if we are to worship God as God requires, we must always be realigning with the word of God. He is a holy God and requires such from us.

The cleansing of the temple. . .it was an act of judgment, it was an act of reform. . .and then finally we come to. . .

III. The Replacement of the Temple

We’ve seen it’s importance, we’ve seen how Jesus cleansed it. . .now, the replacement of the temple. Verse 18: So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?”

How typical. People were always wanting Jesus to do a miracle on the spot, to prove who he was. Jesus wouldn’t do it. One reason he wouldn’t do it was because Jesus knew that signs never compel true belief. That wasn’t the purpose of the miracles. The purpose of the miracles wasn’t to compel to believe. People who believed on the basis of the miracles weren’t really true believers at all. You get evidence of that in John 2:23-25, where it says that “many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. . .” [but then, really interesting--and this is the theme that gets teased out more in the rest of the gospel of John]: But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them [they believed him, but he did not entrust himself to them], because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.” There is a defective kind of faith, faith that is compelled by miracles. It’s not genuine faith, and Jesus knew that. So, he won’t do a sign on the spot. Instead he says: “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” [But then, notice]: 21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.”

Do you know what this is telling us? It’s telling us that a radical shift was happening in the whole history of redemption. In the coming of Jesus, the center of worship—that place of glory and grace and worship, the temple—was shifting away from a physical, geographical location to Jesus himself. The temple was his body. He said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” They did. They destroyed it. They crucified him. Probably three years later (depending on how you interpret this, maybe a few days later) they crucify him. And then he’s raised on the third day, and only after the fact do his disciples understand what had taken place.

All of this shows us that Jesus is our place of glory. Isn’t this the message of John? John 1:14: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” He’s the place of glory.

Jesus is our place of grace. John 1:14b, 16-17… “we have seen his glory…full of grace and truth… For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”

Jesus is our place of worship. That is, he’s our mediator. He’s the one who brings us into relationship with God. How can man approach a holy God? We serve such a precise God and a holy God. We hear stories like these Old Testament stories this morning, and it does make you start to tremble: “Am I okay with this God? How can I be okay with this God?” Here’s how—it’s the only way—through the mediator between God and man. 1 Timothy 2:5-6a: “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all…” As we read in our assurance of pardon this morning: “[We ourselves] like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God [how?] through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5). That’s the way. The only way that we can have audience with the majestic, holy King of the universe is through the Son, Jesus Christ.

Let me close with this. Sometimes stories are told about the axis mundi – literally, the axis of the world. In mythology and religion, it is any place where there’s an intersection between the natural and the supernatural realm, between heaven and earth. Virtually every religion and mythology has an axis mundi. The ancient Greeks believed that Mount Olympus was the home of the gods. Egypt had their pyramids, Mesopotamian civilizations had their ziggurats, and Native Americans had their totem poles. For Islamic people, the axis mundi is Mecca. For the Jewish people, the axis mundi was, of course, the tabernacle and then the temple. The axis mundi has even found its way into modern architecture. Think of things such as the Eiffel Tower or the Washington Monument (which is an obelisk).

The original axis mundi – the original meeting place between heaven and earth – was, of course, the Garden of Eden – that sanctuary garden where God’s presence dwelt on earth and where God could commune with man. But through an act of disobedience, man was driven from the garden—he was driven from the Tree of Life. The hope of the prophets was that another tree would come, a branch from the root of Jesse, a king, a Messiah, who would restore Israel’s fortunes and lead them into a bright new age where God would once again dwell with his people.

The good news of the gospel is that it has come! Through Jesus Christ, the new temple of God replaces the old temple. . .through Jesus Christ, who on the tree of crucifixion opened the way to God. Remember the veil being torn in the temple. The veil is torn; what’s it saying? The way is now opened! Access is given to the presence of God. The axis mundi is that place where heaven and earth met—at the cross. . .and then the empty tomb of Christ. . .so that, through his crucifixion and his resurrection we have access to him.

You see, in most religions of the world, the axis mundi is the place where man reaches up to God, but in Christianity, the axis mundi, the cross is the place where God reaches down to us! Where God, in his amazing act of self-giving sacrificial love, has given himself as the supreme sacrifice, taking the price and the penalty of our sin, dying as our ransom, burying our sins in the grave, and then rising in victorious triumph to give us eternal life.

Jesus is the temple. That’s why we don’t call this building the temple; it’s just a building. Jesus is the temple, and it’s in him that we come to God.

Let’s pray.

God of glory, and Father of grace, we come to you this morning in the name of Jesus Christ, through whom—and only through whom—we can bring spiritual sacrifices made acceptable to you. Father, we confess this morning that we take worshipping you too lightly. There’s no doubt that we do. There are too many times when we enter into your presence without really humbling ourselves, without confessing our sins, without prayer. There are too many times where we lack the reverence of which you are worthy. The truth of the matter is that, even in our very best attempts, we are not worthy—in ourselves—and, when we examine our lives in the light of your glorious majesty, in light of your holiness, we are all of us undone. And so, it brings us to our knees, it brings us to the cross, it brings us to a place of fresh dependence on what you’ve done for us in Christ. . .so that we say, with that old hymn writer:

“Nothing in my hand I bring; simply to thy cross I cling. . .Naked, come to Thee for dress; helpless, come to Thee for grace. Foul, I to the fountain fly. Wash me, Savior, or I die!”

And so, this morning we confess our sins; we confess our unworthiness, and we lay hold on—by faith—the worthiness of our Savior, whose worthiness makes us worthy, and whose all-sufficient sacrifice grants us entrance—and even boldness—to come to the throne of grace, and to receive mercy and grace in the time of need.

So, we draw near to you now, in the Name of Christ, and we pray that you’d draw near to us as well, through your Spirit. As we come to the table this morning, we come not to offer a sacrifice. We come to remember the sacrifice that has been made once and for all, and we come to fellowship with you, our God, in the power of your Spirit—as we, through faith, say, “All that Christ is, we want; and all that we are, we give to You.” So, come and fellowship with us, we pray, in Jesus’ Name. Amen.