Then answered the Jews and said to him, What sign show you to us, seeing that you do these things?…
I. THE DISPUTE WHICH FOLLOWED HIS PROCEEDING IN THE TEMPLE.
1. The remonstrance addressed to Him by the Jews. The parties were the authorities of the Temple who, by their question, espoused the cause of the traffickers. "The Jews require a sign," and for the want of one to their liking, the Gospel was here as ever a stumbling block. There was nothing unreasonable in the request. The cleansing bore a Messianic stamp; but the request was made in anger at the disappointment that their gains had been interfered with, and not with desire to receive information. The very cleansing ought to have been a sufficient sign.
2. The reply of Jesus might be understood to mean the Temple itself, or what He intended: the temple of His body. They misconstrued it into speaking against the sacred fabric, which became one of the fatal accusations against Him afterwards. In the true sense Christ only is the temple of God, although in a secondary sense believers are also, and the universe. The death and resurrection of this temple was to be the sign both for them and for believers. "He was delivered for our offences an d rose again for our justification," by which "He was declared to be the Son of God with power."
II. THE PRESENT AND REMOTE EFFECTS OF CHRIST'S REPLY ON THE MINDS OF THE DISCIPLES.
1. As to the effect at the time there seems to have been none. Of many things, including Christ's death and resurrection, they were ignorant, and remained so up to those events, and even then they were slow to believe. This was owing to their secular views of the Messiah. And how often is such obtuseness the case with believers now. Theirs was removed by experience, so must ours be.
2. The remote effect was on the fulfilment of His Word, most blessed (ver. 22). The spirit eventually quickened the seed sown in good ground (John 14:26). Exactly similar is the experience of the Church at all times. The truth may lay dormant for years, but when the Spirit comes it germinates. What an argument for teaching the young whether they understand or not.
(A. Beith, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?
WEB: The Jews therefore answered him, "What sign do you show us, seeing that you do these things?"