“Who Do You Think You Are?”


“How dare you!?”cross-question

That was the indignant question the pompous religious authorities put to Jesus after he wove the “whip of cords” and drove the animal-sellers and money-changers out of the Temple.

“Show us a miraculous sign,” they demanded, “to prove that you have the authority to do what you’ve done here today!”

When Jesus answered, his answer was not for them but for his disciples: “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

“It’s taken forty-six years to build this temple,” they replied, “and you’ll raise it up in three days!?” They completely misunderstood, but they were quite willing to use this statement against Jesus at his trial, sham that it was. The Apostle John explains that the Lord was talking about the “temple of his body” (2:21) and that later when Jesus was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what the Lord had said, and “they believed.”

“Who do you think you are?” the religious authorities demanded, but by his actions our Lord had already answered.

He was the Son of God consumed with wrath at the perversion of worship purveyed by religious profiteers.

He was the Son of God angered by the disrespect shown in the holy courts of his Father’s house.

He was the Son of God loved by the Father and endowed with the complete authority of the King.

“Who do you think you are?”

Jesus was and is the One whose death on the cross would buy our pardon and whose resurrection life would fill us with his power. The priceless and perfect Lamb of God was the One chasing out the sellers of overpriced and far from perfect sacrificial offerings. This Highest of Priests who would give his own blood to open the way for his people into the Most Holy Place itself was the One that day upsetting the money-changers’ tables and disrupting the profit and the power of the Temple authorities.

Had they been willing, the Lord would have cleansed not just the Temple that day but the lives of those in charge of God’s house, but they would not be cleansed, and they would have no part of him. Before long, they would conspire to destroy the “temple of his body,” and three days hence, the most glorious Temple of all would be rebuilt.

What an odd picture though! “Religious” men who had no real relationship with the living God stood near the house of God demanding of the Son of God, “Who do you think you are?”

Far more appropriate is the question rephrased, turned in the right direction, and put to you and to me: Who do we think Jesus is?

No answer but “the fully human and fully divine Son of God” and “Lord of all” is good enough.


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Copyright 2013 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.


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