When Jesus finished preaching the greatest sermon ever preached, the Sermon on the Mount, Bible tells us that He walked out of a splendid and glorious church building and out into the countryside.
Well………………………………………….that’s not exactly true, is it? What the Bible really says in the eighth chapter of the gospel of Matthew is that Jesus came down from the mountainside, and large crowds followed Him. You see, the greatest sermon ever preached wasn’t preached in a church building at all. It was preached outdoors on the side of hill.
But Jesus did teach in synagogues at various times in various places. And He was very passionate about the Temple in Jerusalem. He drove off the merchants and money changers who used the Temple for a marketplace. He taught His very last lessons in the Temple before he was handed over to be crucified. And when Jesus left the Temple for the last time, His disciples were admiring it’s beauty and the quality of its construction. They said to Him:
“Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!”
But Jesus replied:
“Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”
Jesus is never impressed with an empty building. And when I say empty, I mean a building where Jesus is not worshiped, glorified, or welcomed. When he left the Temple that day, some say that because of his rejection by the Jews, the glory of God departed with Him. And the Temple, like so many churches today, became an ’empty’ building.
A church is more than just a building, or it should be anyway. It’s certainly nice to have a roof over our heads when we gather to worship. But we must never admire the magnificence of a building while ignoring the magnificence of God…………because the most magnificent church ever is the one committed to bringing honor and glory to the name of Jesus Christ above all else, in everything it does. Anything less, and the church does become just another empty building.