Many years ago, I read the Hobbit. It was a real page-turner, and the version I had included a map of middle earth. Every once in a while, I would have to refer to that map to understand what was happening in the story. It was a helpful reference.
In preparation for the Easter Season, I began reading through the Gospel according to John. Jesus is going from one place to another in the Gospel. He is constantly on the move. You can visualize where He went by stopping to look at a Bible atlas every once in a while.
Very often, when He stopped, it was to interact with individuals who are in need. He goes to where they are at. He doesn’t hand out tickets to the nearest convention center. He doesn’t ask people to make an appointment through an executive’s assistant. He meets them where they are at.
Recall the Samaritan woman. He doesn’t tell her to come to His synagogue on the Sabbath so she can hear the good news. Instead, He sits down by Jacob’s well and meets this woman who has come to draw water from the well.
Or, recall the crowd by the Sea of Galilee who came to hear Jesus speak and receive healing. In their hunger, he doesn’t send them to the nearest McDonald’s. Instead, He takes some loaves and fish and miraculously multiplies them so the crowd can eat.
Or, recall the man who had been ill for 38 years, and sat by the pool called Bethesda. He wanted to be healed. He sat by the pool because an angel of the Lord would occasionally stir the waters and the first one in was the first one served with healing by God. Jesus doesn’t tell Him to buy tickets for a healing, but speaks the spirit-filled word of God to him and he is healed.
In each case, Jesus met people who had need where they were at. Instead of hiding behind the curtain in the Holy of Holies, the Holy of Holies was meeting, touching and healing people where they were at. John 1:14 states:
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us
The word dwelt here is eskēnōsen. It means tabernacled, or lived in a tent. Just like Abraham or ancient Israel during the Exodus, God the Son was a nomad. Jesus was a wanderer; “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” (Luke 9:58).
This idea is reflected in Jesus’ interaction with the Samaritan woman so many years ago:
19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
The temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 A.D. Can you imagine how distressing that was? Some churches in our time have fallen to the wrecking ball, too. But, the destruction of the temple did not bring an end to the worship of God. In fact, the disciples had already spread the Gospel to the corners of the then-known world. They met people where they were at. They didn’t ask them to come to the temple. They brought the true temple to the people. That temple is Jesus as John records in Revelation 21:22:
I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.
Wherever you are on the map today, the temple of God is with you and He tabernacles with you to tabernacle with those in need.
By His mercy alone,