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Comments on John 2:13-25

From John: The book about Life, by Matthew R. Freije

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, © Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995. Used by permission.


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Comments on 2:13-17 | 2:18-22 | 2:23-25

2:13-17

Jesus never lashed out at people who insulted or threatened Him. His joy, contentment, and security was tied, not to how other people treated Him, but to His relationship with the Father:

1 Pet 2:23 …and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously

Jesus did become angry, however, when He saw irreverence for God the Father:

Mark 11:17 "Is it not written, 'MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL THE NATIONS'? But you have made it a ROBBERS' DEN"

Return to John 2:17

2:18-22

Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up (vs 19). Jesus was referring to Himself, in that He would rise from the dead three days after His crucifixion.

Jesus refers to His earthly body as a temple because He was filled with the Holy Spirit. Similarly, the Spirit of God filled the inner chamber of the Jewish temple after Moses finished constructing the tabernacle:

Exo 25:8,9 "Let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them. 9 According to all that I am going to show you, as the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furniture, just so you shall construct it.

Exo 40:33,34 He erected the court all around the tabernacle and the altar, and hung up the veil for the gateway of the court. Thus Moses finished the work. 34 Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.

Jesus' statement provided a glimpse of the new covenant: God filling an individual with His Spirit. When a person receives Christ and places his trust in Him (see comments on John 1:12), the Spirit of Christ--the Holy Spirit--comes to reside in that person:

John 14:16-20 "I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. 18 "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 "After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. 20 "In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.

1 Cor 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

2 Cor 6:16 For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, "I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.

Hence the body of the Christian is called a temple.

Jesus was willing to say "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up" even though He knew that the disciples would not understand the statement until after He had risen from the dead and they themselves were filled with the Holy Spirit. And He knew that the others in the temple would not understand it. He was willing to say whatever His Father wanted Him to say, even though He knew the people around Him would think He was weird or crazy. What's more, He may not have even known that the statement would benefit future believers. Jesus obviously was not seeking popularity, or compliments, but only to do the will of His Father. 

Jesus never received any personal benefit from the statement. In fact, it was used against Him:

Mat 26:59-62 Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus, so that they might put Him to death. 60 They did not find any, even though many false witnesses came forward. But later on two came forward, 61 and said, "This man stated, 'I am able to destroy the temple of God and to rebuild it in three days.'" 62 The high priest stood up and said to Him, "Do You not answer? What is it that these men are testifying against You?"

Mat 27:38-40 At that time two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and one on the left. 39 And those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads 40 and saying, "You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross."

Mark 15:29,30 Those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads, and saying, "Ha! You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, 30 save Yourself, and come down from the cross!"

Jesus said not to make His Father’s house "a place of business" (2:16); it is to be "a house of prayer for all the nations" (Mark 11:17). Similarly, the body of the Christian, which is a temple for the Holy Spirit, should be a body suitable for worship. Our thoughts should be on God and His purposes, not on ourselves and our circumstances. We should seek to understand God better, always controlled by the Holy Spirit, in close fellowship with God, continually communing with Him. Christians who seek life through possessions, power, pleasure, and recognition do not experience the awesome joy of continual fellowship with God. The mind of the Christian is to be fixed on the things above, on Christ Himself:

Eph 6:18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints

Phil 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

Col 3:1,2 Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.

1 Th 5:16-18 Rejoice always; 17 pray without ceasing; 18 in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

John 15:4 "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.

Return to John 2:22

2:23-25 Jesus’ life on earth was anchored in His relationship with the Father. His contentment was not based on what others thought of Him, or how well things were going for Him at a given time. This is why Jesus was so steady. What others did or said to Him did not affect him. At this time in Jesus’ ministry, He was becoming very popular, but, recognizing the heart of humans, He did not place His faith in what others thought of Him, but continued to get His joy and security from His relationship with the Father. Thus His joy and security was constant, whether He was being praised or persecuted:

1 Pet 2:23 and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously

God wants us to have the confidence, security, and joy through a relationship with Him. If our life is anchored in our relationship with God, always seeking His will for us at the moment, experiencing fellowship with Him, filled with the Holy Spirit--then nothing can happen to take away our joy, because our joy is not based on our circumstances:

John 15:9-11 "Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. 10 "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. 11 "These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.

John 16:22 …"your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.

When our life is anchored in our relationship with God rather than in how others treat us, we will be steady when we receive praise from others (e.g., for work well done). We need to recognize our dependence on God, that He, and He only, is worthy of praise, instead of relishing in praise from others. Praise from humans never satisfies completely, and is always short-lived. It is not trustworthy. Jesus knew this, so He was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men.

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