Destroy This Temple: What Does John 2:19 Mean?


John 2:19, “Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” King James Version (KJV)

TranslationJohn 2:19
ESVJesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
NASBJesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
NIVJesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”
NLT“All right,” Jesus replied. “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

Destroy This Temple: Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

2:12-22 The first public work in which we find Christ engaged, was driving from the temple the traders whom the covetous priests and rulers encouraged to make a market-place of its courts.

Those now make God’s house a house of merchandise, whose minds are filled with cares about worldly business when attending religious exercises, or who perform Divine offices for love of gain.

Christ, having thus cleansed the temple, gave a sign to those who demanded it, to prove his authority for so doing. He foretells his death by the Jews’ malice, Destroy ye this temple; I will permit you to destroy it.

He foretells his resurrection by his own power; In three days I will raise it up. Christ took again his own life. Men mistake by understanding that according to the letter, which the Scripture speaks by way of figure.

When Jesus was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered he has said this. It helps much in understanding the Divine word, to observe the fulfilling of the Scriptures.

John 2:19 | Cambridge Bible Commentary

Destroy this temple] It is S. Matthew (Matthew 26:61) and S. Mark (Mark 14:58, see notes) who tell us that this saying was twisted into a charge against Christ, but they do not record the saying.

S. John, who does record the saying, does not mention the charge. Such coincidence can scarcely be designed, and is therefore evidence of the truth of both statements.

See on John 18:11. The word used in these three verses for ‘temple’ means the central sacred building (naos), whereas that used in John 2:14 means the whole sacred enclosure (hieron). The latter is never used figuratively.

raise it up] In the charge His accusers turn this into build, a word not appropriate to raising a dead body. There is no contradiction between Christ’s declaration and the ordinary N.T. theology, that the Son was raised by the Father.

The expression is figurative throughout; and ‘I and My Father are one.’ Comp. John 10:18. This throwing out seeds of thought for the future, which could not bear fruit at the time, is one of the characteristics of Christ’s teaching.

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