Raising Up the Temple

Christ is risen!

Truly He is risen!

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After this He went down to Capernaum, He, His mother, His brothers, and His disciples; and they did not stay there many days.  Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.  And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business.  When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables.  And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!”  Then His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up.”  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.  (John 2:12-22)

Temple

Scripture scholar Tom Wright comments on Jesus’ words, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up”, which he notes was another way of Jesus claiming to be king :

“… Jesus’ Temple action, the question which rumbles on underneath these chapters until it surfaces like a volcano when Jesus stands before the high priest is: Who does Jesus think he is?  Only one person has the authority to act in the Temple in the way he had done—only one person, that is, other than the high priest himself.  It was David who planned the Temple, Solomon who built it, Hezekiah and Josiah who had cleansed it, Zerubbabel who had rebuilt it, Judas who had cleansed it again, Herod who was rebuilding it.  Destroying and rebuilding the Temple was an inescapably royal thing to do.  Jesus’ saying about destroying and rebuilding which had gone round the rumor-mill several times by now, was (and everyone knew it was) a veiled claim to royalty.  It is the son of David who declares the Temple redundant and who thereby draws unto himself the divine purposes for which the Temple had stood as a thousand-year advance symbol.  The Father has indeed prepared a marriage feast for his son and the marriage feast will indeed take place.  But the city of those who refused the invitation will be burnt with fire.

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What then will follow?  Somehow God’s purpose will go ahead anyway.  The choice of Israel wasn’t a mistake, but the purposes God intended to carry out through her are now to be carried forward by the son alone. The building of the Temple wasn’t a mistake, but now the place of sacrifice will be the son alone.  The mystery at the heart of the parable is the mystery of the heart of the gospel itself: that all alike have refused the father’s call, and that the son, who is himself the final rejected messenger, will take that rejection itself and turn it into the means hereby the father’s purpose will finally be accomplished.”  (THE SCRIPTURES, THE CROSS & THE POWER OF GOD, p 16)

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