I WILL RAISE
Do you remember the days prior to autofocus cameras? The photographer twisted the lens this way and that until the picture became clear.
Jesus used signs, daily living, verbal teaching and prophecy to sharpen the disciples’ focus on Him and His purpose. You can use this passage to sharpen your focus on Jesus.
Glory Shown (11–12)
John put Jesus’ signs front and center. In the first sign, He turned water into wine at a wedding. The sign contrasted the old way of Judaism with the new way of salvation through Jesus. The Jews were selective in who they accepted. Jesus reaches out to all.
John explained the purpose of all Jesus’ signs as the revelation of His glory. This revelation disclosed His redemptive love. The miraculous acts conveyed deep spiritual meanings.
The Cana sign showed God’s power at work as the divine Jesus. The disciples had believed and followed Jesus, and this sign took their belief a step further. Discipleship is a process of growing daily in faith. As the disciples walked with Jesus, they drew closer to Him.
Worship Expected (13–17)
Jesus arrived in Jerusalem as people prepared for Passover, which commemorated God’s deliverance of Israel from Egypt. The city was full. Out of towners needed a way to exchange currency for temple coinage. They also purchased animals for sacrifice.
A marketplace where costs were known to be inflated was set up inside the temple’s court of the Gentiles. Jesus took issue with where and how those in the marketplace did business. Their dishonest practices amounted to theft, and the location left Gentiles nowhere to worship. Only Jews were permitted in the inner courts.
Jesus overturned the money tables and drove animals outside. He restored the temple as a place of worship. He condemned turning His Father’s house into a marketplace. The disciples saw Jesus protect the temple’s purpose as He challenged the authorities who sanctioned the flea market atmosphere. They recalled the psalmist’s zeal for the temple (Ps. 69:9).
Sign Remembered (18–23)
The people knew the priests were responsible for the temple. Jesus usurped their authority. Jewish hardliners insisted on a sign to show His right to do this. He gave one: Demolish the temple, and He would raise it in three days. They failed to understand the sign.
Jesus and the questioners operated on different wavelengths. He referenced the temple of His body, while they applied His words literally. How could He rebuild in three days a structure that required 46 years to construct?
His death and resurrection flew below their radar. It was always on His. Sadly, the inquisitors missed an opportunity. Jesus offered them an option to the broken Jewish system and proposed a new relationship with God centered on faith and love.
At His resurrection, Jesus’ words became another building block in the disciples’ faith journey, and their commitment level advanced. Others saw Jesus’ signs and believed, but He saw through their superficial faith that carried no commitment.
What Jesus said and did brought reverence for God. The twists and turns of Jesus’ life always served to sharpen the focus on God.
By Darryl Wood
Retired pastor, current hospice chaplain and interim pastor