Summary: Jesus at times taught with concepts that are not obvious so that we might grapple with His thought. This grappling causes us to meditate & stuggle with His concepts which eventually can bring blessed understanding.
JOHN 2: 18-25
The ENTRUSTING OF YOUR LIFE
The commotion caused by Jesus and the quick report of His unheard of action brought the authorities down on Him. They demand some proof of His right to challenge the existing procedure of worship. John is not concerned with the telling of that dramatic event but only in the great testimony extracted from Jesus. After the veiled saying of our Lord being the temple of God John gives both the Jewish misunderstanding and the right interpretation. As usual he concludes with the effect of all this on the faith of the disciples.
Not only were the disciples made wiser, many people were touched by the signs Jesus worked. But the people made no deep commitment to Jesus and thus Jesus did not commit Himself to them.
I. THE SIGN OF JESUS’ AUTHORITY, 18-19.
II. THE SCRIPTURE REMEMBERED, 20-22.
III. THE SEEING INTO ALL, 23-25.
Verse18 states; The Jews then said to Him, "What sign do You show us as your authority for doing these things?"
The hostile Jewish authorities ask Jesus to vindicate His drastic actions. He has acted as a reformer of worship and condemned the temple traders, but it was also a messianic action. Now let Him prove that He had the right to act as He did.
Interestingly they do not want to question the rightness of His action just questioning what authority or right He had to do it. They wanted Him to prove Himself by some sign.
Still today we want Jesus to prove Himself to us by showing us His power instead of testing the rightness of His Word and the righteous of His actions. We ask like they did for Jesus to authenticate Himself with a sign that compels belief.
[This incident is a manifestation of Christ’s unique power. How did it come that all these miserly hucksters had not a word to say, and did not lift a finger in opposition, or that the Temple Guard offered no resistance, and did not try to quell the unseemly disturbance, or that the very officials, when they came to reckon with Him, had nothing harsher to say than, "What sign do You show us as your authority for doing these things?" No miracle is needed to explain their deference. We see in lower forms many instances of a similar thing. A man ablaze with holy indignation, and having a secret ally in the hearts of those whom He rebukes, will awe a crowd even if he does not infect them. But that is not the full explanation. I see here an incident analogous to that strange event at the close of Christ’s ministry, when, coming out from beneath the shadows of the olives in the garden, He said to the soldiers ‘Whom seek ye?’ and they fell backwards and wallowed on the ground. An overwhelming impression of His personal majesty, and perhaps some forth putting of that hidden glory which did swim up to the surface on the mountain of Transfiguration, bowed all these men before Him, like reeds before the wind. And though there was no recognition of His claim, there was something in the Claimant that forbade resistance and silenced reprimand.]
So in verse19 Jesus tells them of the ultimate sign He will give, which they would not believe when it happens either. Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."
Jesus’ word which is translated temple denotes sanctuary, the dwelling place of deity. Though it may be applied to the believer (1 Cor. 6:19), Jesus is stating in a definitive way God dwelt in Him.
The irony here is that the Jews themselves will be the means of initiating this sign when they kill Him or His earthly body. Though pre-told and pre-told they still would not recognize it when this great sign takes place.
Jesus was doing far more than responding to the corruption he saw. So while we’ve already seen some of the reasons why Jesus cleansed the temple – Israel was failing in its mission to the Gentiles and true worship had degenerated into self-serving religion – Jesus is doing something much more radical and all-encompassing: Jesus is challenging the very system of the temple itself, its religion, its authority, and its worship.
Further, we have here our Lord’s claim to be Himself the Agent of His own resurrection. ‘I will raise it up in three days.’ Of course, in Scripture, we more frequently find the Resurrection treated as being the result of the power of God the Father. We more ordinarily read that Christ was raised; but sometimes we read, as here, that Christ rises, and we have solemn words of His own, ‘I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.’ Think of a man saying, ‘I am going to bring My own body out of the dust of death,’ and think of the man who said that doing it.