Have you ever really paid attention to the people and places that Jesus considered important during his ministry? Have you really noticed the kind of folks Jesus felt most comfortable with, the ones he called his family, the men and women he spent most of his time with? Has it occurred to you the places Jesus felt most welcomed, most received? The places Jesus could be himself? The places he called home?
We get a glaring contrast in John 2 between two places, two groups of people, and Jesus’ reaction to both. One is the Temple, the seat of all Jewish religion, the hub of worship, the house of prayer, the epicenter of God’s presence on earth. The other is a wedding party in a Podunk town where there is *gasp* wine, merriment, and celebration.
We would think Jesus, you know – the Son of God, would feel more at home in…the Temple. But we would be wrong. Check out the brilliant comparison and contrast between these two locales in John 2.
Jesus is God on earth. John 1 says that the Word became flesh and “tabernacled” among us, or pitched his tent alongside us. Jesus is the embodiment of everything the Temple was supposed to be. When Jesus went to the Temple in Jerusalem, it should have been like returning home. It was anything but.
How would you like it if you went away for a while, say on vacation, and when you got back your neighbors had decided to use your garage and driveway to host their yard sale? Jesus got to the Temple and saw all the buying, selling, and trading that was happening right at the main entrance to his house!
That’s why I think Jesus always felt most at home in small towns with the few genuinely faithful people he could find. He never stayed the night in Jerusalem – always Bethany. He spent the majority of his ministry in and around Galilee, not Judea/Jerusalem. His home was with the people, not with the political and religious powers. He would rather be at a wedding feast any day than put up with the man-made religious institutions of his day.
Today there is no physical Temple. There hasn’t been for close to 2000 years. But Jesus feels right at home with the people, his people, the church. The church is his bride, he is the bridegroom. The church is the Temple in which his Spirit resides. The wedding feast is being prepared as we speak – and I doubt they will run out of wine this time. So while temples and cathedrals may stand magnificent yet empty, Jesus has always been and is still right at home with each of us.