Thursday, March 3, 2011

Jesus and Nicodemus: Answering the religious leaders

As upset as they were, the religious leaders did not try to get Jesus arrested, or even try to publicly rebuke Him. Instead, as Jesus stood there with His whip of cords, and the vendors were scrambling to pick up the pieces,
The Jews asked him, “By what authority are you doing these things? What miraculous sign will you show us?” (John 2:18)
Remember that these were the Bible experts, the religious leaders. Right before their very eyes Malachi’s prophecy had been fulfilled. If the disciples thought of Psalm 69, you can bet many others, including the priest and Pharisees, could have thought of it too. Besides, everyone by now had heard John’s testimony concerning Jesus.

What they were really doing was creating a situation where they could push guilt onto Jesus so that they would not have to admit to their own guilt.

Jesus answered with a mashal, veiled remark in the form of a riddle, a very classical Jewish way of teaching and something rabbis used all the time. But the religious leaders decided to take it literally in order to avoid allowing the true meaning of Jesus’ mashal to come out – remember all the people crowding around them, listening in. They refused to admit their guilt.

What Jesus’ mashal meant was: “You leaders, through your unbelief, and your rebellion and wickedness, you are in the process of destroying the Messiah, the true sanctuary of God, and in that process you will also bring about the destruction of this actual temple and your entire religious system.

"However, in three days, I will raise up My body, and as a result I will establish a new temple, made of living people, and My church will worship Me in spirit and in truth, and not in this complicated religious system you’ve devised

Standing there with his fellow Pharisees, and a prominent member of the Sanhedrin, stood Nicodemus. Apparently, Jesus' words were penetrating his mind and heart, and he couldn't stop thinking about the implications of Jesus' mashal.

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