Story 29: Proof to Believe: What Can Satisfy the Resistant Soul?

John 2:13-24

To this day, devout Jewish people make pilgrimages to visit what we believe are the last remnants of the ancient Temple in Jerusalem. Today it is called the Wailing Wall. It is so named to describe their grief over the destruction of their most sacred place of worship. But what if their own God provided a far better Temple? What if He is calling them still?

Jesus performed an amazing miracle for His mom. It was quiet and unseen by most, but a few of the people at the wedding feast understood what happened. The parents of the bride had failed to bring enough wine, and to save them from their shame, Jesus had turned many gallons of water into the fine drink. The Lord who created the universe is also the God who thought up the wonder of wine and weddings and falling in love. And One Day, The Son of God is going to celebrate a wedding of His own (Rev. 19: 6-9).

After the feast in Cana, Jesus went back with His mother to Capernaum. His brothers and His disciples went with them.  They stayed there together for a several days. Imagine the conversations!  Then the time came for the Passover. The Lord Jesus and His companions travelled to Jerusalem to worship at the holy feast. But when He got to the Temple, He was filled with rage. The outer courts were full of men selling cattle and sheep and doves. It looked like the scene of a common market! These creatures were supposed to be there so the people of Israel could offer them to God as sacrifices in the Temple. They were meant to be a holy offering, but these men were turning it into a dirty money-making scheme. Jesus took cords of and began to scourge the moneychangers and merchants who were taking advantage of the people. As He drove them out of the Temple with their animals, He threw down their money and turned their tables over in disgust. “‘Get these out of here!’” He commanded. “ ‘How dare you turn My Father’s house into a market?’”

Imagine the intensity of the moment! There were animals and men running in every direction, fleeing the purifying wrath of Christ. As His disciples watched their Teacher rage fiercely in His righteous anger, they remembered that the Old Testament told about One who would burn with passion for the Temple of God. Psalm 69:9 says, “‘Zeal for your house will consume me.’” This verse was meant to point to Jesus. It was meant to show that God approved of the Messiah when He came in His blazing goodness. The disciples saw the connection and believed.

But the Jewish leaders were affronted. Who did this carpenter think He was to come into their Temple and defy their way of doing things?  These men were in charge of the Temple, and they had allowed those moneychangers and animals to come inside. The only person would could override their decisions was someone who had been sent by God Himself, and He would be able to prove His authority with miraculous powers.  They confronted Jesus by challenging Him: “What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?’”

Jesus said to them, “‘Destroy the temple and I will raise it up again in three days.’”

Wow. That is a bold statement. The Temple was a massive, grand building. The Jewish leaders questioned Him, “‘It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?’”

But the Lord wasn’t speaking to them plainly. He was speaking in mysteries and riddles because their hearts were hard. The Temple He spoke of wasn’t the building in Jerusalem. He was talking about the Temple of His own Body.  At the time, His disciples didn’t understand what Jesus meant, either. But after Jesus died and rose again on the third day, it all became very clear.  They remembered what He said, and they believed.

While Jesus was in Jerusalem for the Passover, He performed many miraculous signs. They showed that He had a special power from God. It meant that they should have believed Him when He said He was sent by God. It is interesting that the religious leaders had demanded a miracle from Jesus, but when He performed them, they still didn’t believe. They said that a miracle would be proof of His authority, but then refused to accept it.

Many other people saw these signs and believed in Jesus. But the Lord did not put His trust in them. Jesus was walking the earth as the Man who is God, but He lived in total dependence on His Father in Heaven. He did nothing apart from obedience to His Father’s leading. God knows the motivations and desires of every person. He knew that even those who had begun to believe in Christ’s message were still burdened with the sins that lead to betrayal. Jesus could not put His trust in the frailty of those around Him. But His Father was nothing like that. The love of God is loyal, strong, and never failing. Jesus looked to His Father alone, and He was more that enough.

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