“Who is left among you who saw this temple in its former glory? And how do you see it now? In comparison with it, is this not in your eyes as nothing?...The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,” says the LORD of hosts. “And in this place I will give peace,” says the LORD of hosts.
Haggai 2:3, 9
The people who had returned from Babylon were rebuilding the Temple on its former site in Jerusalem, but what they were building seemed small and insignificant in comparison to their memories of the beautiful Temple that King Solomon had built.
The younger Jews, born in Babylon, had never seen the old Temple. But the older ones who had seen the old Temple as children before being carried off to Babylon and who were now returning after seventy years, remembered it. They felt that this new Temple would never measure up to what they remembered, and their nostalgia infected the others, making them feel that what they were building would never be quite right.
Haggai was sent by God to tell them that the glory of this new Temple would be even greater than the old one, because “in this place I will give peace.”
And so it was. Four hundred years later, Jesus, the Promised Messiah, would physically come to this new Temple. The Temple sacrifices were finally fulfilled in the offering of Christ Himself and His presence made it even more glorious. He gave peace, by reconciling us to God.
We are in a similar situation. Not the physical building we are getting ready to build but the church, the congregation, the fellowship. For those who have come to know the Lord here, this is the most beautiful fellowship they have ever seen. A few who have memories of a church “back home” might compare what’s happening here with their previous experiences and wish it could be more like what they remember.
But of course the important thing and what makes this new work of God glorious is the fact that Jesus is here. He meets us in this place and fills this congregation with His presence. People are coming to know God and finding peace with Him here, and because of His presence what God raises up here will be even more glorious than anything we remember.
Lord Jesus, fill our church with Your presence. Open our eyes to see what you’re doing here and be glorified in our midst as people come to know You in this place. Give peace in the hearts of many and show us how You would have us build this congregation for Your glory. Amen.
Pastor Dan Giles