Item after item was crafted by Bezalel. Item after item was overlaid with gold. Item after item was prepared for use in the tabernacle.
How long do you think all of this took? Months? Years?
Fast-forward several centuries, and King Solomon was building the temple. That same temple was destroyed and later rebuilt. None of this was easy or instantaneous.
As we read this, we recall all of this was moving in a single direction. There was a place on earth where God dwells with humanity. It was the tabernacle. It was the temple.
Finally, it was – and is – Christ.
Jesus was very clear about this as he cleansed the temple of its money-changers and pigeon-sellers (John 2:13-22).
“Destroy this temple,” Jesus said, “and in three days I will raise it up.”
Not months or years, but three days.
The Jewish leaders were perplexed. “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?”
John goes on to tell us that Jesus wasn’t talking about the stone temple where he was standing. He was talking about himself – “the temple of his body.”
You see, if the purpose of the tabernacle and the temple were to be the place of God’s presence with his people, when God himself shows up, there is no need for either temple or tabernacle.
“When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.”
More than a millennium earlier, Bezalel knew nothing of this as he spent weeks and months (surely) crafting the ark, table, lampstand, and altar of incense. He was gifted by God to do this work (Exodus 36:1). And he did his work without comment. This was a sacred task.
What he was creating was temporary. In one instantaneous event, when a stone was rolled away from the front of a tomb, Bezalel’s work would be replaced forever.
Part of the glory of Easter is that it marks the end of the work that Bezalel started. No more temples, tabernacles, or golden furniture. It’s just Jesus now.
Maybe the lesson is that everything we build here on earth – even the sacred and holy things – are fragile and temporary. It doesn’t mean they are of no value. Bezalel’s work was of great value. But even that passed away. Even that was rendered inconsequential in light of the ultimate thing.
All that matters in the end is the final temple, Jesus Christ.
It ought to change our perspective. We ought to live and work and create for him – because he’s the only thing that lasts. He is the only thing that conquers death. And we are given a place “in” this new temple by his grace.
This calls for humility – and an honest assessment of what’s really important.