Right on the ‘tail end’ of Jesus ‘cleansing the temple’, the Jews, who were the religious leaders in my opinion, asked Him for a “sign”. I mean, when someone comes in and just takes over as Jesus did… it makes one wonder “Who does he think he is?!” I guess they figured they deserved a miracle after He had turned over tables, and driven the money makers out. If Jesus had done this, in essence he would be saying “See!! I am the Son of God!” But he didn’t perform a miracle. Instead Jesus speaks on a level that his challengers are definitely not on.
The only “sign” (which by the way is the greatest) He offers was still in the future… “Destroy this temple, and in three days I WILL RAISE IT UP” (vs. 19). Obviously they were shocked and puzzled. It took 46 years to build the only temple they cared about. Obviously to us, Jesus was speaking about his death, burial and his resurrection. The disciples later remembered his words after Jesus was raised from the dead (vs. 22). This fulfilled all kinds of scriptures given by the Old Testament prophets like David, Isaiah, and others.
Jesus did perform miracles (vs. 23), and many did believe on Him at that time as a result. Jesus was popular, but He knew what people thought. He knew how fickled people are. You have probably seen this in your life, where people who loved you once had become your enemy ‘over night’. It is a good lesson to keep in mind, but it’s not the one we are after.
A word about “SIGNS” or “MIRACLES”. Jesus performed MANY, MANY miracles. More than are recorded in the Gospels (John 20:30-31). But what is meant by a “sign”? Well, there are three Greek terms which come into play which we need to keep in mind. 1.) “Teras” which means amazing, staggering or marvelous. That would fit what Jesus did for sure.
2.) “Dunamis” which gives us our word for ‘dynamite’, but basically refers to ‘extra ordinary power’! That also would fit what Jesus showed in his miracles. Remember he raised the dead, cast out demons, healed the sick… INSTANTLY!!! That is POWER! STAGGERING, AMAZING POWER!!!
3.) “Semeion” which means ‘a sign’. The difference and reason for the word used in this context seems to be pointing to the PURPOSE of the miracle. A ‘sign’ reveals would POINT TO SOMEONE. In this case, Jesus when he gave people a ‘sign’ it would be a miracle with a purpose of pointing people to His Divinity. A ‘sign’ revealed the PERSON, NATURE AND CHARACTER of Jesus. It told people WHO HE WAS (the Son of God). It showed people WHAT HE WAS (powerful). It revealed his NATURE (Divine love). Later he would tell Phillip, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father (John 14:9). So Jesus revealed a lot when He performed a miracle.
The greatest SIGN was his resurrection. On this ONE SIGN, all of Christianity stands! The resurrection of Jesus is the cap stone, and the foundation and everything in between!!! Take a look at the preaching of the apostles and other disciples and the part the resurrection played in their message.
1. PETER – Acts 2:29-39
2. PETER – Acts 3:12-16
3. PETER – Acts 4:8-12
4. PETER AND THE APOSTLES – Acts 5:29-32
5. STEPHEN – Acts 7
6. PHILLIP – Acts 8:12, 26-39
7. SAUL/PAUL – Acts 9:1-6, 20
8. PETER – Acts 10:33, 38-40
9. PAUL – Acts 16:14-16
10. PAUL AND SILAS – Acts 16:25-34
11. PAUL – Acts 18:8; I Corinthians 1:14-17
12. PAUL – Acts 19:1-7
The point is just this… if anyone can prove Jesus was NOT RAISED FROM THE DEAD… then these people and all others who proclaim Jesus as God’s Son, are deceived at best and liars at worst. This would prove Jesus is just a man who did good things, and proclaimed a great message, but that would be the end of it. All their preaching would be just deceiving words.
BUT HE WAS RAISED, AND HE IS THE SON OF GOD! As a sideline… the question begs to be answered… why would so many in those early days and years of Christianity give their lives for a lie?
How important is it to ‘be on the same page’ with someone? How easy is it for people to get distracted, or misunderstood? Well, why do you think I take so much time to explain what I am trying to ‘say’? So you will be on the same page.
When Jesus spoke of “destroy this temple and I will raise it up in three days”, the religious leaders totally missed it!!! They could not see that Jesus was offering them the ultimate, undeniable, un-get-over-able miracle… his resurrection. It shows how they already had their minds made up and were against him all the way… He could have done a miracle… but He had already done this. Still they didn’t accept him. They were not on the ‘same page’ with Jesus… this is obvious.
Mom and dad were sitting on their front porch in Royston, Ga., and mom was listening to Lawrence Welk on her Walkman. Dad was on the other side of the porch and was listening to the crickets. Mom (with her Walkman still on) said to dad, “Honey, isn’t this beautiful?” Dad replied, “Yes, and just think, they do it all with their legs!?
Well, I smile every time I remember this story dad told about he and mom, but it teaches a valuable lesson. Be sure you are on the ‘same page’, when studying the Bible, or when listening to your wife or husband… Be sure you are on the ‘same page’ with God’s Word, His plan, His will, His life…
We are so grateful for your Son, who came to this earth and lived a life so we could read, and see in our minds eye just how great You are, how loving You are. We are so grateful for Jesus, who was raised from the dead, and gives us expectation for the same victory one day when we leave this world. Guide us through our study of your Word, even make us humble and willing to accept your Word. Keep us always in Your love. In Jesus Name…. Amen.”