The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken. John 2:18-22
Perhaps it’s just me, but I have always found this narrative fascinating. On the surface it looks as though Jesus has lost His temper, and yet if you plumb it further you find that the honor, reverence, and passion Jesus had are not only pure, but white hot in intensity. Jesus, fully God and fully human, was passionate about the Father and keeping the Temple—the place of God’s dwelling – absolutely pure from any sort of defilement. Jesus was in the right in this story.
But the religious leaders didn’t see it that way. They were incensed, perturbed, and more than a little bitter toward Jesus. The very ones who were charged to uphold the integrity of the Temple were the same ones who allowed corruption; all for a little coinage on the side. Jesus’ clearing of the Temple threatened not only their standing before the people, calling their practices into scrutiny, but he was also curtailing their side job for extra money. They had no concern whatsoever about the method they used, only what those methods got them. And so they question Jesus and ask for a sign of His authority. Like a dog with its tail between its legs, they lash out.
Jesus had no need to prove His authority. What the religious leaders were doing was wrong, and they knew it. Scripture even proved it, as Jesus quoted the prophet Isaiah when He said, “My house shall be a house of prayer.” (See Isaiah 56:7 and Matthew 21:13). But further still, Jesus declares His authority to all listening, by stating that the Temple could be torn down and rebuilt in 3 days, alluding to His death and resurrection. John states this truth so early in the book to communicate not only the supremacy of Christ, but to drive home the point that the Resurrection is central to this book. John is saying in no uncertain terms that Jesus is in fact God from beginning to end, and making the case for His supreme authority over all.
Without the Resurrection, we are all fools to be pitied. The Resurrection is what sets our faith apart and gives it substance and credibility. This week, take time to meditate over 1 Corinthians 15:12-18. Take some time to praise God for not only resurrecting Christ, but imagine what it will be like when we too are raised anew with Him.
By Sheila Rennau