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Destroy This Temple (John 2:18-25)

(So the Jews answered and said to Him, “What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” But He was speaking of the temple of His body. Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said. Now when He was in Jerusalem, at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man. ~John 2:18-25).

Today I am going to talk about the last 8 verses of John chapter 2 completing my memorization of John chapter 2; God has shown me much through this chapter. I have had struggles through it, but God who is always faithful has carried me through all the way. I knew when I under took this endeavor, I had no ability to do this except that which is given to me by the Holy Spirit. God has caused me to memorize these first two chapters of John and has spoken to me through them the entire way, and I thank Jesus Christ for that; I will forever have His word in my heart because of this, and I pray He will keep me going through this entire book (The Gospel According to John).

Today we continue on from last week in the temple Jesus had just gotten through running off the people who sold in the temple; oxen, sheep, doves, and the money changers all doing business in the temple. Last week I asked, why did Jesus get so mad about this? I have thought about that all week. Jesus put up with a lot of stuff from a lot of people. Just walk around today and everywhere you look there is sin, it is so prevalent in our society and was prevalent in the society of Judea during the first century. So everywhere you go all the time you are surrounded by sin and sinful people. When the Word (Jesus) walked amongst us He would have been constantly in the presence of sin and sinful people all the time, yet He dealt with it differently than He did on this occasion. I have recently been reading through the books of the Law (The Old Testament) there is one thing I have gotten out of that with certainty. God really got angry with Israel when they had no reverence for Him. Continually throughout the Old Testament the Israelites would fall away and worship other gods then God would become angry with them. Jesus is God! What was going on here in the temple was complete and total irreverence towards God. They had taken His Holy temple and made it into a common market place. There is estimated to be hundreds of thousands of people in the temple for the Passover, and the Scripture tell us that Jesus ran them all out. That is the equivalent of one man by himself with a whip running everyone out of the Dallas Cowboys stadium, that in and of itself is incredible.

So then you have the Jews, the religious leaders, the Priest, the Pharisees, and the Levite guards coming and questioning Jesus. “What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?” This really is a dumb question, and my guess is that they asked it because they were in shock from what He just did. They wanted a sign, He had just given them a sign, what He had just done was fulfillment of prophesy in Malachi 3. So Jesus gives them an answer, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” These very words Jesus had said, they used against Him when they wrongly tried Him before His crucifixion. He was speaking both of His body which housed His spirit, and the temple in Jerusalem itself. Jesus’ earthly ministry is sandwiched between two Passovers, and two times He cleared the temple, separated by three years. And what did they do when they crucified Jesus on the cross? They destroyed His body, and destroyed temple worship, and all sacrifices both at the same time. When Jesus on the cross breathed His last, and bowed His head, the temple Veil separating the most Holy place in the temple tore down the middle, signifying that it was available to all, and that God had departed from the temple, and it was just a few years after this that God used the Romans to destroy the temple, and there has been no temple worship or sacrifices in Israel since, for two thousand years. Jesus did raise both temples. Three days later He rose from the dead and defeated death but He also rose up the earthly temple as well. You have probably often heard the building in which a church service takes place as being the house of God, well it is not, that is totally untrue. The believer is the house of God, which houses His Holy Spirit. Every single man or women on earth who has had a saving faith in Jesus Christ (His death on the cross as payment for our sins) has received the Holy Spirit of God thereby making their own body the temple of God. Think about that for a minute and it will humble you. Your body is quite literally the temple of God on earth, if you are a believer.

Now the last three verses of John I have to tell you have left me in total shock and awe. I have learned through this process of memorizing (The gospel According to John), to look at the Word of God in terms of sentences or complete thoughts rather than in terms of verses. While the versing of the bible helps us to locate parts of the bible for study, it also hinders in that if you look at a verse as being a complete thought, when part of the thought was in the previous verse, it changes your perception of scripture. So these last three verses are really just two sentences. When I had read this before I had just missed it, because it is two sentences sandwiched between two great events; Jesus cleansing the temple, and His meeting with Nicodemus, so allow me to write them out for you again.

(Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name. But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man. ~John 2:23-25).

I think that, maybe, the most eye opening, and jaw dropping, literal slap in the face of all of scripture. It says that Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men. Not some men, not just these men but all men, which includes me and you. And it says that He had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man. He wouldn’t commit Himself to them, because He knew what was in man. What did Jesus think of us, and yet He willingly went to the cross for us, absolutely amazing? Let us take a look at Paul’s testimony of man.

(As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.” “Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit”; “The poison of asps is under their lips”; “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; Destruction and misery are in their ways; And the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” ~Romans 3:10-18).

Paul was speaking of all men, just as Jesus knew what was in man. All I can say to that is, thank God that He sent us a Savior, in His only begotten Son Jesus Christ, who took our punishment on the cross for all of our sins. Repent and believe by faith in the redemption that comes through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross as payment for your sins.

Mike Peek