The Temple of Christ's Body
John 2:18-22
Then answered the Jews and said to him, What sign show you to us, seeing that you do these things?…

The metaphor was not dragged into conversation, but the temple He had just purged was shown to be a figure of something greater than itself.

I. THE ENIGMA. Christ cast a shadow over truths, the full disclosure of which might have altered the conduct of the Jews and the character of His mission. His hearers were puzzled and their after thoughts excited. What good man could propose such a destruction? What sane man could promise such a restoration? Yet it made such an impression that it was misquoted against Christ in the high priest's palace, and as He hung upon the cross (Matthew 26:60, 61; Mark 14:57, 58; Mark 15:29, 30).

II. THE TYPE. The tabernacle and temple were significant preparations for the time when God would become flesh and tabernacle among men. Christ knew and proclaimed Himself to be the antitype; this new temple, in which the fulness of the godhead dwelt bodily, was consecrated when Jesus was anointed with the Holy Ghost.


1. Christ foresaw clearly that the Jews would destroy this temple. To this He was reconciled and longed for it, inasmuch as His sphere of influence was now circumscribed; but the destroyed temple would be rebuilt on a scale more glorious, and all nations called to it.

2. The words, "I will raise it again," are significant —

(1) Of the identity of the body in which Christ rose with that in which He suffered. No doubt the transformation was great. The conditions of an incorruptible body are not known to us. But these words prove the link of continuity, and if there was such a link in the case of Christ, so also there will be one in the case of the saints whose bodies are to be like unto His.

(2) Of the power Christ had over His own future. His authority to cleanse the temple had been called in question. He affirmed that He had power not only to do this, but to raise up one which men could destroy but could not construct (John 10:18).

3. As He is risen Christ is a temple for all nations. In Him God dwells accessible to all: anywhere, irrespective of sacred times and places.

(1) The place of reconciliation, the refuge for sinners.

(2) The home of communion, the resort of saints; a temple that shall never be subverted.

4. The epistles carry this view of thought further.

(1) Every Christian is a temple of the living God; a motive for holiness far higher than moralists have dreamed of in their theories of the dignity of man, and the elevating power of self-respect (1 Corinthians 6:15, 19).

(2) More frequently Christians are living stones which collectively form a great temple or "habitation of God in the Spirit."

5. A local church, also, as representing the Church Catholic, is also a temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16; Ephesians 2:21, 22; 1 Peter 2:5).

6. The life which animates the stones, and so pervades the temple, emanates from the living foundation stone — the risen Christ. But this cannot now be fully manifest, just as our Lord was not understood at Jerusalem. The inner life of Christians is not seen. The Lord's body is not discerned in the Church. But the temple is so being built that the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

7. In such a world as this the holy temple encounters risk.

(1) The traders desecrated the Temple, worldly Christians secularize and degrade the Church of God; but such, sooner or later, the Lord will drive out and disown.

(2) Greater still is the fault of those who by strife and schism tend to destroy the temple; against this Paul lifts a stern warn. ing (1 Corinthians 3:17).

(Donald Fraser, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: 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?"

The Mysterious Sign
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