What does John 2:21 mean?
ESV: But he was speaking about the temple of his body.
NIV: But the temple he had spoken of was his body.
NASB: But He was speaking about the temple of His body.
CSB: But he was speaking about the temple of his body.
NLT: But when Jesus said 'this temple,' he meant his own body.
KJV: But he spake of the temple of his body.
Verse Commentary:
Many times in the gospels, Jesus makes comments about spiritual issues, which are misinterpreted in a physical sense. In verses 18 and 19, Jesus is challenged to produce a miracle. He had disrupted the businesses which had taken over the temple grounds. Local religious leaders demanded a miraculous proof that Christ had the right to do this. Jesus responded by saying that He could rebuild "this temple" in only three days. Solomon had spent years building the first temple. Nehemiah spent years rebuilding it. Herod had spent decades remodeling the current temple. So, claiming that one could rebuild "this temple" in just days sounded absurd. The people thought He meant the brick-and-mortar sanctuary. Instead, Jesus was predicting His upcoming death and resurrection. When Jesus is arrested, this statement will be part of the evidence against Him (Matthew 26:61). And, when He is crucified, it will be used to taunt Him (Matthew 27:40).
Verse Context:
John 2:13–23 describes Jesus driving corrupt businessmen from the temple. Selling sacrifices to travelers was not a problem. The sin was in gouging the people, focusing on money, rather than serving God. Jesus is never depicted as out of control, but His anger is clear. It’s likely that this is an early temple cleansing, and the other gospels record a second, separate cleansing. Jesus’ authority is challenged by the authorities. In typical Hebrew style, they demand a miraculous sign. Jesus instead predicts His own death and resurrection. This passage is in contrast to the quiet, joyous miracle at the wedding.
Chapter Summary:
Jesus attends a wedding where He performs His first miracle: turning water into wine. This is symbolic of His transformation of human rituals into divine sacrifice. Few people are even aware that a miracle has occurred. Jesus then drives crooked businessmen out of the temple, scolding them for turning a sacred place into a market place.
Chapter Context:
Chapter 2 begins to show Jesus’ “signs,” or miracles, which will prove that He is the Savior. The miracles will grow more and more spectacular, but they start quietly. Contrast is an important part of the gospel of John. The quiet, joyful miracle at the wedding is very different from the loud public spectacle of clearing the temple. Jesus’ first miracle symbolizes His mission. During the temple clearing, He also predicts His death and resurrection.
Book Summary:
The gospel of John was written by the disciple John, decades later than the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The author assumes that a reader is already familiar with the content of these other works. So, John presents a different perspective, with a greater emphasis on meaning. John uses seven miracles—which he calls “signs”—in order to prove that Jesus is, in fact, God incarnate. Some of the most well-known verses in all of the Bible are found here. None is more famous than the one-sentence summary of the gospel found in John 3:16.
Accessed 4/22/2024 3:47:09 PM
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