The Glorious Irony

It's OK.

John 2:18–22

So the Jews answered and said to Him, “What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?”

Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?”

But He was speaking of the temple of His body. Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.

The Jews’ question here is curiously mild. Jesus has just caused a mini-riot. The temple courtyard looks like it was hit by a tornado. Jesus announced why He was trashing the place and it’s obvious that He’s right. So, no one stops Him. But now some folks have a question.

“What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?”

They don’t think that what Jesus did is wrong; it’s just that He’s acting like a prophet or messiah or something. Folks are expected to “know their place.” They’re genuinely interested in seeing a sign that He really is someone special.

Then Jesus gives them an answer that they don’t understand. Even His disciples don’t understand it. It’ll be cryptic until after His resurrection. Okay, but why be so coy?

Remember, anything that keeps Him from getting crucified wrecks the whole plan. Jesus can drop hints all day long, but if He really convinces the crowd of who He is, then they won’t call for His death later. Without the crucifixion, the plan of salvation collapses and there’s no Messiah.

So, to be the Messiah, Jesus must make sure the people don’t know that He’s the Messiah. If they know He’s the Messiah, then He’s not the Messiah. If they don’t, then He is.

What a glorious irony.

This is a perfect example of how God’s perspective is different from ours. Not everything He does is going to make sense to us—not immediately anyway—so we need to just be patient and trusting.

This applies especially with prayer. God’s answers often don’t conform to our requests. That’s because we ask for the wrong thing. Praise God that He still commands us to bring our requests before Him.

Often, we don’t even get to see what God is up to in this life. There’s not even a guarantee that in Heaven we’ll be so smart that we’ll finally understand everything.

But we’ll finally be okay with that.

These Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:

The weekly study guides, which include the Monday–Friday devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.