“The Jews then said to Him, ‘What sign do You show us as your authority for doing these things?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ The Jews then said, ‘It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?’ But He was speaking of the temple of His body. So when He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken” (John 2:18–22).
The Jewish authorities completely missed the point of Jesus’ statement, incorrectly applying it to the Herodian temple. But as John points out, Jesus “was speaking of the temple of His body.”
The sign He would give was His own resurrection, which even His disciples did not immediately understand (cf. 12:16). It was not until “He was raised from the dead [that] His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken.” His death as the ultimate sacrificial Lamb would render the Jerusalem temple obsolete (cf. 4:21); and His resurrection as the triumphant Lord would lay the foundation for a new, spiritual temple in its place—namely the church (1 Cor. 3:16–17; 2 Cor. 6:16; Eph. 2:19–22).
It was not until after the resurrection that everything came into focus for the disciples. Only then did they recognize Jesus’ power of resurrection as convincing proof of His deity.
Have you been confused recently by a section of Scripture that puzzles you with its mystery, or seems to scrape against other things you’ve been taught in the past? If your heart is set on learning and obeying, rather than arguing or resisting, be sure that the Holy Spirit will reveal truth as you seek Him for it.