Worship and Liturgy (03): Jesus Inspects the Sanctuary

Date: 3/16/2008
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Worship and Liturgy: Jesus Inspects the Temple
All Saints * Dr. Gregg Strawbridge * March 16, 2008

Lev 14:34 When ye are come into the land of Canaan, which I give to you for a possession, and I put the plague of leprosy in a house of the land of your possession;
Lev 14:35 then he that owneth the house shall come and tell the priest, saying, There seemeth to me to be as it were a plague in the house.
Lev 14:36 And the priest shall command that they empty the house, before the priest goeth in to see the plague, that all that is in the house be not made unclean: and afterward the priest shall go in to see the house:
Lev 14:37 and he shall look on the plague; and, behold, if the plague be in the walls of the house with hollow streaks, greenish or reddish, and the appearance thereof be lower than the wall;
Lev 14:38 then the priest shall go out of the house to the door of the house, and shut up the house seven days.
Lev 14:39 And the priest shall come again the seventh day, and shall look; and, behold, if the plague be spread in the walls of the house;
Lev 14:41 and he shall cause the house to be scraped within round about, and they shall pour out the mortar, that they scrape off, without the city into an unclean place:
Lev 14:42 and they shall take other stones, and put them in the place of those stones; and he shall take other mortar, and shall plaster the house.
Lev 14:43 And if the plague come again, and break out in the house, after that he hath taken out the stones, and after he hath scraped the house, and after it is plastered;
Lev 14:44 then the priest shall come in and look; and, behold, if the plague be spread in the house, it is a fretting leprosy in the house: it is unclean.
Lev 14:45 And he shall break down the house, the stones of it, and the timber thereof, and all the mortar of the house; and he shall carry them forth out of the city into an unclean place.

Luke 19:41 Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, 42 saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 “For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, 44 “and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” 45 Then He went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in it...46 saying to them, “It is written, 'My house is a house of prayer,' but you have made it a 'den of thieves.'”

What does He find each Lord’s Day when He comes to our church? (“If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place” Rev. 2:5).

If one peers just below the surface of the Gospel of Luke, a vivid picture of a new (true) priesthood, a new and true high priest, and a new and true temple appear. The Gospel of Luke begins with the temple priesthood and ends with the new temple priesthood.


The birth narratives of John and Jesus begin in the temple with the prophecy to Zacharias (1:9) as he is serving at the altar of incense, a priestly duty which may have only befallen for him once in his life. This section ends with Jesus in the temple (2:22-40) being circumcised and the foretaste of hopeful old covenant believers (Simeon and Anna). Simeon, “waiting for the Consolation of Israel,” “came by the Spirit into the temple.” That is how he encountered Jesus. Then, the entire first section ends with the twelve-year old Jesus “sitting in the temple” (2:46).

Then the center section of the gospel (9-19) is framed by Luke as Jesus “steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem” (9:51). Emphatically, “His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem” (9:53, see also 13:22, 33, 17:11, 18:31, 19:11, 28). The intentionality of the destiny of the “journey to Jerusalem” is quite clear in Luke 17:11. “Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.” Going from Martha’s home in the south (John 12:1-2) through Sarmaria and Galilee is not part of a map-quest-shortest-distance trip to Jerusalem. This is a clue that going to Jerusalem is part of Luke’s literary-meaning structure, not mere information about the travel plans of Jesus.


From the Last Supper to the ending: the gospel ends in the temple with a new people worshiping God. “And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen” (Luke 24:52-53). This structure suggests that the old house of the second temple is in need of repair and a new house is to be built.

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Gregg Strawbridge Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as receive a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more