John 2:19 ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’

October 6, 2018 by David Farmer 0 comments

Posted in: Weekly Commentary

John 2:19 ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’

This is a sequel to John’s account of the cleansing of the temple in Jerusalem. Well known are the details of that cleansing that Jesus performed with a scourge of cords. He drove out all those merchandizers that were dishonoring His Father’s house. And He said to them, Make not my Father’s house a house of merchandise. We are told that this action caused His disciples to remember words from Psalm 69:9, Zeal for thy house hath eaten me up. But this behavior, along with the assertion that the temple was His Father’s house, incensed the Jews causing them to exhort Him to show them a sign for what He had done. Their continued response has been recorded in verses 20-22:

The Jews therefore said, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou raise it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body. When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he spake this; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.

How many years past between this event and the event of the resurrection of the Christ? And how many other events had transpired between these two noteworthy—to say the least—events? It is remarkable that the disciples ‘remembered that he spake this.’ It may be that the Holy Spirit assisted them in doing so, yet is it not marvelous? Some of us often can’t remember what we heard a day ago—even perhaps an hour ago. It is interesting as we wonder that these same men did not seem to understand Him when He spoke to them some time later about this same issue; His death and resurrection;

From that time began Jesus to show unto his disciples, that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and the third day be raised up. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall never be unto thee.—Matthew 16:21-22.not

It truly is a wonder, but have we not too often expected from the disciples and others near to the Christ while He was upon the earth, more than is warranted? We sometimes imagine that they have been especially gifted from the beginning, and yet we find them, so many times, to be somewhat dull-witted and slow to understand. Did not our Savior Himself speak to them in synonymous terms on more than one occasion? We have witnessed Him speaking to them in terms unmistakably critical when He found it necessary to address them as, O ye of little faith, wherefore dost thou doubt? See Matthew 6:30; 8:26; 14:31; and even in 16:8. Surely, we give to ourselves much latitude and allow many excuses that we are not so prepared to extend to the twelve and others. We have been blessed with the entire sixty-six books of the scriptures, and yet continue to struggle to belief all the things spoken of the Christ. We are reminded of the words of the one that we may well expect to be counted as ‘first among equals,’ yet he found it necessary to write in his second epistle, 2 Peter 3:15-16, of the teachings of the apostle Paul, that, weto him, wrote unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; wherein are some things hard to be understood, which the ignorant and unsteadfast wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

We are called upon to study the Word of God to show ourselves approved, workmen that do not need to be ashamed. Now this was not written only for those that are called upon to preach the Word, but I believe, for every child of God. It is perfectly true that those lines were written by Paul to his young follower, Timothy. But it is equally true that every child of God is called upon to search the Scriptures. Every child of God has been provided, especially in the 20th and 21st centuries, and in America, with God’s providential access to obtain written copies of the Word of God, as well as being granted freedom in this country to read and to study for themselves what God has provided for His children, both men and women. To him who has been given much, much will be required. Jesus Himself has given us this exhortation recorded by Luke in 12:48;

And to whomsoever much is given, of him [or her] shall much be required: and to whom they commit much, of him will they ask the more.

Are the comments made by William Hendriksen upon 2 Timothy 2:15 to be limited in scope to men alone? Are these exhortations not generic in their import? This most valued commentator has left for us views and opinions that do not seem to be limited whatever.

“Timothy’s example must serve as a powerful example against error: Do your utmost to present yourself to God approved.” Does this not apply to every believer; not to men alone; and not to preachers and teachers alone? The doctor continues, “Timothy must exert every effort so to conduct himself [or herself] that even now before the bar of God’s judgment he stands approved, that is, as one who, after thorough examination by no one less than the Supreme Judge, has the satisfaction of knowing that the latter is well-pleased with him and commends him. Now this happy result will be achieved if Timothy is found to be: a workman who has nothing to be ashamed of, rightly handling the word of the truth. Timothy, then, must be a workman, not a quibbler. His work, moreover, must be such that it does not reflect shame on him and that he does not need to fear that shame will cover him when he hears the divine verdict respecting it.”

Yes, these words of Paul (of God the Holy Spirit) were originally written to a young pastor, exhorting him to diligence in his calling. But are we not all to be diligent in whatever place the Lord has called us to abide? While the Word of God does not call women to be pastors of the flock of God, as being called to be children and daughters of the Most High, they are also called to be diligent in their calling; workman that will have no need to be ashamed at that great day. Women, Paul has said, in like manner, to deacons,

must be grave, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things. And like the men, they are to be learners, like Mary, the sister of Lazarus, at the feet of Jesus, growing in grace and in wisdom, searching the Scriptures, being builded up in the Truth as it is in Jesus. Surely, among those Bereans in Acts 17:11, there were women searching the Scriptures daily to see if the things Paul preached were so. (verse 12).

David Farmer, elder

Fellowship Bible Church

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