Advent 20 (2013): Whose Authority?

“Just who the hell do you think you are?”  (That’s a Barbara paraphrase of John 2:18 to show the attitude behind the question.).

John 2:18 Then the Jews demanded of him, “What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?” 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” 20 The Jews replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” 21 But the temple he had spoken of was his body. 22 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.

This is what “the Jews” (not all the Jews, but specifically those engaged in the marketplace and the leaders at the temple) wanted to know.  Think of it this way: Jesus was a Jew and so were His disciples, but to those specific Jews whose livelihood was engaged in the commerce and religiosity associated with temple worship, they wanted to know “What gives you the right to disrupt what we’re doing?”

Jesus points out that the glory of the LORD is not in the temple. 

It hasn’t been there since Ezekiel.  The lights are on, but there’s no one home. 

No glory dwells there, though God the Father meets with people in prayer.

No glory dwells there, but the Word was made flesh and made His dwelling among us. 

The real glory dwells in Jesus, the Unique Son of God.

He is Emmanuel: When LOVE Showed Up In-Person!  He IS the glory of the One and Only.  The glory in the temple would be shown when Jesus’ body was crucified, dead, and buried…but would rise again from the dead.  That would prove He was Emmanuel (God with us) for His time among us.  His bodily resurrection would prove He is God and Messiah with all authority to cleanse the temple and more than that, to pay for human sin, the very corruption that caused God’s glory to leave the temple in the first place.

The Jews demanded credentials.

To them, without credentials, Jesus was just a law-breaking vandal and a rebel. 

But Jesus’ authority didn’t come from any man-made means. 

His authority existed from before time began because He was sent from the Father,

He is God, and after dwelling with us, He would be returning to the Father.

It is nothing short of audacity to look the Son of God in the face and ask, “Just who the hell do you think you are? What gives you the right to disrupt what we’re doing?”

Questions to ponder:

  1. Are there any ways in which we question God and His actions in our lives?
  2. Read Luke 11:29-32, Matthew 12:39-42, and Mark 11:27-33.  How do the “Sign of Jonah” and John the Baptist’s baptism shed light on what authority we see in today’s passage from John?

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on December 20, 2013

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