Then answered the Jews and said to him, What sign show you to us, seeing that you do these things?…
I. THE DIGNITY OF OUR LORD'S BODY. The bodies of believers are called temples because God dwells in them by a communication of grace, but the humanity of Christ is God's temple by a substantial inhabitation, immediately and personally — "In Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead." God dwells in the Church as a King among His subjects, in Christ's humanity as a King in His royal palace.
1. In the Epistle to the Hebrews Christ is the mystery shadowed forth by the outward sanctuary: The similitude will appear if we consider —
(1) They were alike in building; both under the immediate and special direction of God.
(2) In the ornaments by which they were beautified.
(3) In Him the import of the sacred vessels is fulfilled.
(4) Christ's body was like the Temple, as it regards those religious services which were performed in it.
(a) In the Temple was a standing oracle; in Christ's humanity dwelt the true and living oracle of heaven.
(b) In the Temple was the altar of sacrifice and the atonement for sin. Both derived their efficacy from Him who His own self bore our sins.
(c) The Temple was the house of prayer: in the days of His flesh what prevailing supplications Christ offered, and He now even liveth to make intercession.
2. To this temple must every acceptable worshipper approach.
(1) The Spirit of Christ must inspire their prayers.
(2) His name must authorize them.
(3) His merit must perfume them.
(4) His advocacy must recommend them.
II. THE VIOLENCE AND DISHONOUR WHICH THE TEMPLE WAS DOOMED TO SUFFER AT THE HANDS OF HIS ENEMIES.
1. The nature of His passion was a dissolution, a full and complete death.
2. The extent of this passion. Death severed soul and body, but this was all — the union of the Godhead with the manhood was indestructible.
3. The circumstances by which this event was accomplished and wherein their aggravation consists.
(1) Violence and wickedness on man's part.
(2) Voluntariness and love on His.
III. THE GLORY TO WHICH IT WAS TO BE RAISED BY HIS ALMIGHTY POWER.
1. The agent, "I." Dead men were raised by others. Christ by Himself. He is a quickening spirit for Himself and for us.
2. The subject — the self-same temple.
3. The state.
(1) Substantial — "A spirit hath not flesh and bones," etc.
(2) Entire — nothing wanting to its perfection.
(J. Styles, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?