“Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.”

The Temple was always crowded at Passover. The authorities made it worse by allowing both money changers and merchants to operate in the Court of the Gentiles. Thus non-Jews would have found it difficult to worship there, a space specified for this purpose. Oxen, sheep and doves were for sale in the temple because animal sacrifice was performed there. By cleansing the temple, Jesus may have proclaimed that the animal sacrifices of the old law were no longer necessary. This would be a shocking revelation, because animal sacrifice was called for in Leviticus and was the heart of Jewish worship. When He cleansed the temple, Jesus may have been saying He was above the Scriptures, tradition, and the Temple. He may have been saying that He was God.

Jesus comes to usher in a New Covenant, complete with a new way of life and a new way of worshiping GOD. The sacrifice of animals would be replaced by a new and perfect sacrifice, the sacrifice of the Lord Himself, the Lamb of God. Jesus could not bear the sight of His Father’s house being turned into a market place, so He made a whip of ropes and drove the traders out. The sign He made to justify His action was a challenge: ‘Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.’ The obvious response to Jesus’ seemingly blasphemous action was to either stone Him or ask for a sign showing His authority to do such a thing, which would show that He was God. Jesus gave such a sign, declaring that the Temple of His body would be destroyed and then raised up on the third day. This means that His mindset in the days just before the feast of the Passover was already focused on where hostility towards Him was leading. The Jews did not understand that the temple Jesus referred to was His own body. The “tent of His body” had to be destroyed on the cross as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Jesus’ blood which was shed for each one of us cleanses us of sin and opens the way for us to enter into the presence of the living God. Through His death and resurrection, Jesus not only reconciles us with our Father in heaven – He fills us with His Holy Spirit and makes us temples of the living God.

When Jesus’ body was destroyed on Calvary, He made the once-and-for-all perfect sacrifice that atoned for all sin and made animal sacrifice absolute. When Jesus rose from the dead, He showed He was God, for only God has power over death. Only God has the power to go beyond His revelation in Leviticus and His divinely revealed tradition. Jesus rose. He is God. Amen!


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