Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”—John 2:19
Christ was the foundation and life of the temple. Its services were typical of the sacrifice of the Son of God. The priesthood was established to represent the mediatorial character and work of Christ. The entire plan of sacrificial worship was a foreshadowing of the Saviour’s death to redeem the world. There would be no efficacy in these offerings when the great event toward which they had pointed for ages was consummated.
Since the whole ritual economy was symbolical of Christ, it had no value apart from Him. When the Jews sealed their rejection of Christ by delivering Him to death, they rejected all that gave significance to the temple and its services. Its sacredness had departed. It was doomed to destruction. From that day sacrificial offerings and the service connected with them were meaningless. Like the offering of Cain, they did not express faith in the Saviour. In putting Christ to death, the Jews virtually destroyed their temple. When Christ was crucified, the inner veil of the temple was rent in twain from top to bottom, signifying that the great final sacrifice had been made, and that the system of sacrificial offerings was forever at an end.
“In three days I will raise it up.” In the Saviour’s death the powers of darkness seemed to prevail, and they exulted in their victory. But from the rent sepulcher of Joseph, Jesus came forth a conqueror. “Having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them” (Colossians 2:15). By virtue of His death and resurrection He became the minister of the “true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man” (Hebrews 8:2). Human beings reared the Jewish tabernacle; humans builded the Jewish temple; but the sanctuary above, of which the earthly was a type, was built by no human architect. “Behold the Man whose name is The Branch…. He shall build the temple of the Lord; and He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon His throne; and He shall be a priest upon His throne” (Zechariah 6:12, 13).—The Desire of Ages, 165, 166.
Further Reflection: Satan believed that his plan to kill Jesus would end God’s plan of salvation for humanity. It resulted in the opposite. How has God used moments of suffering to bring about even greater blessings in my life?