After you’ve destroyed this temple I will raise it up again in three days. John 2:19 (TPT)
Raise It Up – Resurrection Series – Part 1
It was a few days before Passover, and Jesus had just caused quite a stir at the temple. In fact, it was more than a stir. He was angry and was a public and deliberate point. Jesus didn't throw a tantrum at the temple the day he turned the tables over and ran out the money lenders.
No. He was doing what all good prophets do: he was enacting a prophecy, a message; truth.
No, he wasn't violent. Jesus' actions that day do not give us the permission to use violence as a means to an end. You just have to read more about his life, his words, and his death to understand that. Although he acted dramatically and loudly, it's unlikely he physically hurt anyone that day.
It was quite usual for prophets and Rabbi’s to act out (can I say perform?) a scene, a moment, a lesson, to drive the point home. And goodness, did he have (and still has) a point! And by the way, if Jesus got good and angry about religious profiteering and exclusion, I think that’s a pretty good example to follow… But I digress.
The Jewish leaders and people in the temple that day were unaffected enough to confront him about his actions. He wasn’t carted off to a cell for being a danger to the community. He created a scene. And he meant to do it. He was literally speaking truth to power. (You can read more about that in our Holy Week series.)
In response, the Jewish leaders asked him:
“What authorisation do you have to do this sort of thing? If God gave you this kind of authority, what supernatural sign will you show us to prove it?”
In other words:
Jesus answered, “After you’ve destroyed this temple I will raise it up again in three days.”
“This temple took forty-six years to build and you mean to tell us that you will raise it up in three days?” They challenged.
But they weren’t getting it. In his book, John goes on to say that “they didn’t understand that Jesus was speaking of the temple of his body.” Not the actual physical structural temple, but Himself. The flesh and blood Christ.
Jesus was doing what he did so well: hinting at something beyond what they could see; what they were willing to see and hear.
He was talking about resurrection.
It hadn’t happened yet, obviously. But as he often did, Jesus was dropping a hint.
Resurrection. That was his proof. His authorisation. His supernatural sign.
But for there to be a resurrection, there has to be a death. You can’t resurrect a living thing. What kind of sign would that be?
And it wasn’t so much about a sign for Jesus. No. You don’t give your life for a sign. He was flipping tables. Not just the ones in the temple; they were but a hint, a taste of what could change – what should change – if we dare declare the goodness and grace of God in our neighborhoods and cities.
“After you’ve destroyed this temple, I will raise it up again in three days.”
He was saying:
After you’ve done the worst thing that you can do to a person; after you’ve falsely accused me, used me as political propaganda; after you’ve turned the temple into a place of trade and performance; when you've abandoned the widow and the orphan; deemed profit and security more valuable than human dignity and mercy; tried to silence the grace and kindness of my life; after you’ve gone to your darkest and sunk to your deepest and have killed the very God who gave you life…
Death does not have the final say.
Tables can be turned.
Written by Lizzy Milani