Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
— John 2:19
How ridiculous these words of the Lord Jesus sounded to the cynical Jewish leaders and law-experts who questioned Him. They looked up at the grandeur of the Temple, made so spectacular by Herod the Great, and could not conceive of it being destroyed, let alone it being rebuilt in three days.
The model in our picture is part of an extraordinary feature at the Museum of Israel in Jerusalem. You can see the central courts, and the holy place, which is distinctively huge. If you want some idea of scale, the building you see in the model would have been two times as tall again as today’s ‘Dome of the Rock’, which is a Muslim shrine (not a Mosque – that is a separate building on the Temple Mount).
Of course, Jesus was not talking about the temple, which took forty-six years to complete, but about His own body – as John tells us in the next verse. It is easy to miss the request that brought forth the statement, though. The Jewish Leaders said ‘show us a sign’. As we are going through John’s gospel on Sunday mornings, we see various people seeking signs. Still, today, people seek signs and wonders. They seek excitement and a ‘wow’ factor in every area of life.
Think about this. There is no greater sign than that Jesus of Nazareth died on Calvary’s Cross, and that within three days He rose again, all in fulfillment of prophecy. It is the greatest miracle and most marvelous event the world has ever seen. It reminds us that whatever man seeks to do, God always brings His plans to pass. It challenges us once more to consider whether our faith is genuine — because this is not a matter of sentiment or preference, but a matter of fact. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died on Calvary’s Cross. He rose again on the first day of the week. He calls us all to follow Him.
What is your response to the Saviour, who has done everything for you? What is your attitude when coming out to Chapel on Sundays? Just tradition, or something to be endured? Or an opportunity to celebrate with God’s people the most amazing things this world has ever witnessed? Is it to seek some intellectual tidbit in the sermon or to search and to seek after Christ, to long for a ‘sight’ of Him ‘who loved me, and gave Himself for me’?
May God grant that not one of us should ever ‘lose the wonder of it all’.