But the Jewish leaders demanded, “What are you doing? If God gave you authority to do this, show us a miraculous sign to prove it.” “All right,” Jesus replied. “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” John 2:18-19
Jesus upends the crooked commerce taking place in the temple. The innocent temple goers look on with fear. The guilty see what Jesus has just done and feel anger rising up out of their bowels. Jewish leaders instantly demand an answer. “What are you doing and show us a sign to prove that God gave you the authority to do it.”
The verb tense is in the present. “What are you doing?”
Jesus’ answer to them is spoken in a future tense. “Destroy this temple and I will raise it up.”
They are upset by what they are experiencing in the present, but His answer will take place in future revelation. They demand an answer with utter disrespect, yet Jesus is gracious to answer their question. He doesn’t have to. He is not accountable to them but to His Father.
Questioning God is part of life but because God’s answers are often promised in future tenses, my pain blinds me to the perfection of His providence. It does not yet appear that He orders all things well even; I am only seeing disorder. It does not yet appear that every travesty will be redeemed; I am only seeing senselessness. Future tenses in the form of God’s promises bring great comfort but only if I am willing to look beyond what I am presently experiencing. Maturity teaches me to ask questions through submissive tears, not with raised fists.
Jesus’ answers to the Jewish leaders are loaded. He refers to a temple but they do not know that He refers to Himself. He speaks of raising the temple back up after destruction, but they do not know that it has nothing to do with re-ordering the chaos in front of them. He has no intention of restoring the business of Passover. Perhaps that is why God gives promises instead of answers. People picture one thing while He means something entirely different.
This one thing I know. “Why Lord?” always has an answer. Always. As a beloved child of God, my greatest hopes and dreams lie in future tenses.
You will have to help me see the ‘now’ with eyes of faith. Amen