My oldest son Joshua is 11. He’ll turn 12 in April. Yes, he is smack dab in the middle of his preteen years and it really shows at times. Sometimes he is tighter with words than pants are on Thanksgiving evening. Joshua’s one-word answers, nods, and grunts are harder on my wife than they are on me, but there are still plenty of times when I crave to talk with Joshua but cannot get anything out of him.
Then there are times when Joshua won’t stop talking… about STAR WARS™ Battlefront™. If you aren’t familiar with STAR WARS™ Battlefront™, it is a video game where you can play the role of various STAR WARS™ characters, complete missions, increase levels, and assemble items. I am making an educated guess about that because I don’t play it, but those are the things Joshua talks about.
And there is the problem. When Joshua starts telling me about STAR WARS™ Battlefront™, I try to stay engaged. I want to stay with him, because I don’t want to miss the opportunity to connect and this game is important to him. But I can’t. I try and fail every time. I simply don’t know what he is talking about and so my eyes start to glass over when he talks about a new character he unlocked or how he now has a new weapon (which he talks about by name).
STAR WARS™ Battlefront™ is a terrible temple.
Here’s what I mean.
STAR WARS™ Battlefront™ doesn’t bring Joshua and I together. It actually might push us apart some. While Joshua is talking to me, I can’t talk back with him. Our relationship isn’t strengthened.
And that is exactly the opposite of how God designed the temple. The temple was a connecting point between God and man and was intended to bring people together with God. It was to be a place for the people to relate with God and Him with them, primarily through the sacrificial system. The sacrifices pictured the one sacrifice that was to come—the perfect sacrifice of Jesus—which was the only way that we could be joined into relationship with God.
That is why the temple was so important. As you teach this week’s session, The Temple Was Completed (Unit 16, Session 5), keep that in mind. Rebuilding the temple was not about restoring Jerusalem, it was about restoring relationship. The temple was God’s word picture to Israel that they were separated from holy God (the curtain separating the Holy of Holies), but that they didn’t have to stay separated—there was access through the blood sacrifice (the high priest splattering the blood of the sacrifice on the Day of Atonement). This is what is in mind in this week’s Christ Connection:
God’s people rebuilt the temple so they would have a place to worship God. Years later, God sent His Son, Jesus, to be with His people. Now God dwells not in the temple, but directly with His people. Because of Jesus, we don’t need a temple anymore.
Help your kids see the importance of the temple and how it pointed to Jesus. Also, take this opportunity to talk with them about the gift we have been given in being able to know and worship God because of Jesus. I love how Hebrews 10:19 says that we can now enter God’s holy presence with confidence because of Jesus. In Christ, we are perfectly forgiven of all our sin and made perfectly righteous with His righteousness. That is why we can enter God’s presence with confidence. We do not have to fear rejection. We are fully accepted in Christ. That should motivate us to worship God with love, gratitude, and awe.
How does the gospel shape your worship of God? Leave a comment below.
Here is more help for leaders preparing for the January 15, 2017 session (Unit 16, Session 5) of The Gospel Project for Kids.
Brian Dembowczyk is the team leader for The Gospel Project for Kids. He served in local church ministry for over 16 years before coming to LifeWay. Brian earned an M.Div. from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a D.Min. from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Brian, his wife, Tara, and their three children—Joshua, Hannah, and Caleb—live in Murfreesboro, TN, where Brian enjoys drinking coffee and teaching 4-5 graders at City Church.