“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.’ ” John 2:18–19
Here we are at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry and he’s already making statements that foreshadow his death and resurrection.
Of course the people don’t understand what we, knowing the whole story, can easily see. Their immediate conclusion is that Jesus is talking about rebuilding the temple and they protest that it would be impossible for him to rebuild a building in three days when it took forty years to build it in the first place.
Jesus doesn’t attempt to clarify his statement. He leaves it out their ambiguous and provocative exciting questions in the minds of both his followers and his enemies. And throughout the years of his ministry it won’t be forgotten. At his trial a version of this statement is presented by his enemies as evidence to support the charge of blasphemy against the temple that was leveled against him. And his followers recalled this prophecy after his resurrection only then realizing that the temple he was referring to was the temple of his own body.
What this statement demonstrates clearly is that in everything Jesus did throughout his ministry he was following a carefully devised planned. I’m not saying that every word and action was scripted. Neither he, nor his disciples, nor the scribes and the Pharisees sent to spy on him, nor the people who flocked to him to be healed and to listen to him preach, had prescribed lines they were compelled to follow. But what Jesus did understand was the message about God and his kingdom that he was given to preach, and about the sacrifice that he was destined to make on behalf of sinful man, and about the victory that would be his, and ours, when he finally completed his mission. Jesus may not have been handed a script when he put on human flesh and blood but he did know what it was he had come to this earth to do.
Scripture clearly informed him regarding the major steps, and even some of the minor steps, of his life. Scripture, if we will study it, and believe, it will inform us regarding some of the major and minor steps of our lives as well.
God has a purpose and a plan for our lives. There’s no script but we do have his Spirit to guide us and his word to instruct us. Like Jesus we can know the end. God vanquishes all evil. He redeems all those who have believed on his name, claiming Christ as their savior and Lord. The graves will be opened and the dead restored to life. Everyone will be given glorious bodies like Jesus’ own glorious body and we’ll be welcomed members of God’s family to live with him in his house forever.
Jesus accepted a terrible end of his earthly life so that he could buy us all a glorious forever in eternity.