Jesus Claims The Temple As His House.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the verification and authentication that Jesus is indeed the Son of God, God manifested in the flesh. The resurrection verifies that Jesus is the promised Messiah, and it authenticates that He is Almighty God, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, with authority over all things, including death.
After Jesus went into the temple, with authority and a whip, He drove the merchants out of the temple. He turned over the tables and dumped their money and merchandise onto the ground, saying,
“It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.”Matthew 21:13
The temple was His house. He claimed ownership. The temple belonged to Him, and He did not like what it was being used for. He had come to “clean” His house.
The Jews Demand A Sign Of Authority.
Naturally, the Jewish leaders were outraged by someone coming into their temple and disrupting business as usual. John 2:18 tells us,
“Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?”
The Jews demanded that Jesus verify who He was and give a sign that He had the right to claim the temple as His house. They challenged HIm,
“Who do you think you are? What gives you the right to come in here and disrupt the approved business of the temple. How dare you come in here in this manner and tell us what to do!”
Jesus Says His Resurrection Will Be The Sign Of His Authority.
What sign did Jesus Christ offer to verify and authenticate His right and authority to call the temple His house and to approve and disapprove of what was done in His house? What sign did Jesus Christ offer when it was demanded of Him? Jesus offered His resurrection as proof.
John 2:19 says,
“Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Verse 21 explains, “But he spake of the temple of his body.”
But to be raised, He had to die. The Jews were eager to oblige Jesus with death.
What makes the resurrection so special? Why did Jesus use His resurrection as the sign that would prove who He was?
Anyone can die. Anyone can love and hate. Anyone can make claims to be God. Anyone can learn magic tricks to fool others. But no one can die and come back to life. Life over death is reserved for God alone.
Yes, there are those who die, as defined by the medical community, and then are revived. This is called clinical death. The heart stops, the breathing stops, or the brain ceases to show activity on a monitor for a few minutes. But even after death, the cells in the body continue to metabolize. Fingernails grow, hair grows, the digestive system continues to digest, and muscle cells continue to twitch.
Clinical death typically lasts just a few minutes. A rare few have claimed to have been clinically dead for as long as 4 hours. There is one report of 17 hours. But when you are dead for three days and three nights, you are beyond question—dead. Deterioration of the body begins immediately after death, but by 24 hours after death, the internal organs decompose. The lack of blood to the cells means a lack of oxygen and the building up of toxic waste. Rigor mortis has already begun. By the third day, your body is decomposing, and the bloating and putrefaction stage begins due to gases being produced by leaked enzymes and bacteria in the body. The cells in your body are dead.
Jesus’ Death Was Beyond Doubt.
Jesus was dead. His body had already been drained of blood and had been subjected to extreme trauma. He was in the grave for three days and three nights. There was no denying that He was dead.
The combination of being tortured, drained of blood, wrapped in burial cloth from head to toe saturated in perfumes, and kept inside a tomb for three days would dispel any claim by critics that He was only clinically dead. After being tortured and drained of blood, Jesus was most certainly dead. Being in the grave for three days, wrapped with burial cloth, dispelled any possibility of Jesus’ being revived. He was not merely clinically dead. He was truly dead. His soul had left His body.
Jesus dismissed His spirit into the hands of His Father while He was on the cross. According to Luke 23:46, Jesus said,
“And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.”
It was at this point, while hanging on the cross, Jesus died physically. The soldier confirmed the death of Jesus by stabbing Him with a spear, draining the blood, which had already separated into water and blood, from his body.
The difference between being clinically dead and being truly dead is the separation of the soul from the body.
Genesis 35:18 describes Rachel’s death during childbirth, saying,
“And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin.”
After true death, the soul does not return to the body. Hebrews 9:27 says, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”
The Jews Ensured Jesus’ Death.
The Jews orchestrated the death of Jesus and then made sure that Jesus was dead by keeping Him in the grave for three days.
In Matthew 27:64, the Jews advised Pilate to
“Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.”
This verifies the resurrection all the more. Not only did His followers claim that they had seen Jesus resurrected, but His enemies made sure that the only way His tomb could be empty was if He indeed was miraculously resurrected. And thus it happened. He miraculously arose after being in the guarded grave for three days and three nights. His enemies made sure that He could not fake His resurrection.
In thinking to prevent the deception of faked resurrection, the enemies of Christ became a part of His verification. They made sure He was dead and in the grave for three days and three nights. But Jesus was in control the whole time. He had come to die, and He had come to be raised from the dead.
Jesus welcomed their participation and confirmation of His death. When He was raised back to life, He did not revive from clinical death. He arose from unquestionable death. Up from the grave He arose! No one but God could do this. This is the sign, the proof, that Jesus promised to verify His authority to call the temple His house, to verify His claim to be God, and to verify that He was indeed the Messiah, the way, the truth and the life.
The Resurrection Verifies Jesus’ Message.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the proof of His identity and the truthfulness of His message. Without His resurrection, He was just another man making claims that anyone could make.
Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:14,
“And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.”
But Jesus Christ is risen. He is God manifested in the flesh. His message of salvation by grace is true. Our faith is not in vain, and our preaching is not vain.
Christ’s death without His resurrection would have meant nothing. Without His resurrection, the debt of sin would not have been paid. Without His resurrection, He would still be in the grave–dead. Without His resurrection, we could never hope to be raised from the dead. Without His resurrection, there would be no hope of eternal life.
Talk about authentication! The Jews asked Jesus for a sign, and Jesus gave it to them.
“Destroy this temple, and I will raise it up in three days.”
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the sign that verifies His message. It is the evidence that our message of Him is true. It is the reason we are here as a church. It is the reason why we live as we do with the purpose we have.
The Resurrection Is The Message To Share.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the central theme of our message, the reason for our existence, and the justification to persuade others to believe Him. Acts 4:33 shows us what the apostles did as witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection.
“And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.”
Let us go and do likewise.