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Verse 19. Destroy this temple. The evangelist informs us (Joh 2:21) that by temple, here, he meant his body. It is not improbable that he pointed with his finger to his body as he spoke. The word destroy, used here in the imperative, has rather the force of the future. Its meaning may thus be expressed:


"You are now profaners of the temple of God. You have

defiled the sanctuary; you have made it a place of

traffic. You have also despised my authority, and

been unmoved by the miracles which I have already

wrought. But your wickedness will not end here.

You will oppose me more and more; you will reject

and despise me, until in your wickedness you will

take my life and destroy my body."

Here was therefore a distinct prediction both of his death and the cause of it. The word temple, or dwelling, was not unfrequently used by the Jews to denote the body as being the residence of the spirit, 2 Co 5:1. Christians are not unfrequently called the temple of God, as being those in whom the Holy Spirit dwells on earth, 1 Co 3:16,17; 1 Co 6:19; 2 Co 6:16. Our Saviour called his body a temple in accordance with the common use of language, and more particularly because in him the fulness of the Godhead dwelt bodily, Col 2:9. The temple at Jerusalem was the appropriate dwelling-place of God. His visible presence was there peculiarly manifested, 2 Ch 36:15; Ps 76:2. As the Lord Jesus was divine—as the fulness of the Godhead dwelt in him—so his body might be called a temple.

In three days I will raise it up. The Jews had asked a miracle of him in proof of his authority—that is, a proof that he was the Messiah. He tells them that a full and decided proof of that would be his resurrection from the dead. Though they would not be satisfied by any other miracle, yet by this they ought to be convinced that he came from heaven, and was the long-expected Messiah. To the same evidence that he was the Christ he refers them on other occasions. See Mt 12:38,39. Thus early did he foretell his death and resurrection, for at the beginning of his work he had a clear foresight of all that was to take place. This knowledge shows clearly that he came from heaven, and it evinces, also, the extent of his love—that he was willing to come to save us, knowing clearly what it would cost him. Had he come without such an expectation of suffering, his love might have been far less; but when he fully knew all that was before him, when he saw that it would involve him in contempt and death, it shows compassion "worthy of a God" that he was willing to endure the load of all our sorrows, and die to save us from death everlasting. When Jesus says, "I will raise it up," it is proof, also, of divine power. A mere man could not say this. No deceased man can have such power over his body; and there must have been, therefore, in the person of Jesus a nature superior to human to which the term "I" could be applied, and which had power to raise the dead—that is, which was divine.

{q} "Destroy this temple" Mt 26:61; 27:40

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