Mark 14:58

“We ourselves heard him say ‘I will destroy this Temple made with hands, and in three days build another made without hands.’”

I heard a threat
to our lovely Temple
with its awesome stones

my ancestors built it
my offerings support it
my meaning depends on it

a threat to this edifice
is a threat to the one
who cannot be directly named

I heard he was Joshua
who would shout walls down
not that I believe that

I heard he had aliens lined up
to build it in the shape
of a pentagon

I heard he would snap his fingers
and broken walls would
arise of their own accord

Mark is clear that this is a false testimony. The irony here is laid out by LaVerdiere2264:

In Mark’s presentation, those who brought false witness against Jesus had no idea what they were saying. From their point of view, distorting Jesus’ words, they gave false witness. From Mark’s point of view, they could not have spoken more truly. So understood, the “false testimony” against Jesus plays an important role in the trial, introducing Jesus’ interrogation by the high priest and Jesus’ extraordinary Christological proclamation (14:60–62).

The accusation of another can lead to a great affirmation. Those in the Methodist tradition are very fond of the story of gaining their name through the misapprehension of their way of approaching holiness—methodically. The slur of “Methodist” was turned into a positive value.

It might be asked what sort of building can be built without hands. Today we might think of robots, but then we would have to ask who built the robots. There is no way to get away from our anthropocentrism.

Mark is looking for a different kind of “temple”—one not built with human hands—a baptism of repentance that results in forgiveness (1:4, 15). This “building” will have elements of changed hearts in a matrix of mercy and compassion. There will be a breathing, a beating of life—seeds that grow of their own accord.

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