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True Disciples Watch and Remember

John 2:18-22
The Jews then responded to him, ‘What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.’ They replied, ‘It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?’ But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken. (NIVUK)

There was no doubt, when Jesus had disturbed the market in the temple (John 2:13-17), He also unsettled the religious power-holders.  They demanded to know His authority for doing so, and wanted Him to do a miracle.  But Jesus never did miracles to satisfy people’s curiosity.  Instead, He told them a riddle: “Destroy this temple and I will rebuild it in three days”.  But it made no sense to them at all.

Three years later, after He had risen from the dead, the disciples remembered the riddle, and its meaning became obvious.  The ‘temple’ was not the great stone structure in Jerusalem but His own body, which would die and receive new life three days later.  We have no idea if any in the crowd remembered, but the one-line riddle was not intended for them; it was for the disciples.

Even though the crowd said they were interested to know about Jesus’ authority, it was the disciples who needed to be convinced. Indeed, much that Jesus did was primarily aimed at His disciples.  His purpose in calling them to be with Him was so that they would understand who He was - God in the flesh (John 1:14), the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29).  Then they could become leaders of Christ’s church (Matthew 16:18) - knowing the truths by which to live and the truth to explain to others (1 Timothy 4:16) - having the assurance they needed to face tough times and lead others through them, confident that Jesus really was the unique Son of God (1 Peter 1:3-7), the promised Messiah (1 Peter 1:10-12).

But why did Jesus speak in riddles and parables?  Even when He gave the disciples the explanations, they did not understand until after the resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit (John 12:16).  “His disciples asked him what this parable meant.  He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that, ‘though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand' (Isaiah 6:9)". (Luke 8:9-10)   But, they remembered what He said and did!  The remarkable thing about being a disciple of Jesus is that when He speaks, it lodges deep in our hearts.  And when we cannot understand it, He builds into us a ‘divinely appointed frustration’ that is unsatisfied until He reveals more.  And when we finally understand, we know the truth which can set us free (John 8:31-32).  We may be confident that the Lord Himself is always at the centre of the answer.  It is not things, or ideas, or programmes or activity that we most need, but Jesus Himself.

Dear Lord God. Thank You for revealing the Lord Jesus Christ as Your Son and my Saviour. Thank You that He is all I need. Forgive me for being so trapped by my own small view of the world that I fail to see what Jesus is doing, and that He wants me to work with Him. Please illuminate my heart and mind by Your Holy Spirit so that I can learn the lessons You are teaching me; and equip me to be useful to You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams