18The Jews then said to him, ‘What sign can you show us for doing this?’ 19Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ 

Frequently, when John refers to “the Jews”, he is using the term as shorthand for the religious hierarchy of the day. This is the case here. It is those who benefit most from the status quo who are threatened by Jesus’ action in the Temple.

Many times in the Gospels it is evident that the religious officials had the most trouble with this radical preacher from Galilee. They were the ones who gained from the existing religious system. They were the ones who had vested interests to protect.

I wonder how I respond when my position of privilege and power is threatened. Confronted by uncomfortable truth, do I push away the truth that is unavoidable and seek to find some rational way of dismissing the speaker?

These religious leaders want to reduce Jesus to the size of their little religious boxes. They do not want a religion that is out of their control. They are determined to run the show so that the show will continue to serve their purposes.

But Jesus refuses to fit into their pinched paradigm. There is something greater than the Temple at work here. The Temple is intended to point to the Spirit in Jesus.

The Temple is designed to help me open to that Spirit and become more deeply conscious of the mystery the Temple serves. When the Temple becomes an end in itself, it is time to upset the furniture.


What is there in my life that might need to be upset in order to enable my vision of God’s Presence and work to expand?