Jesus had a way with people. I read recently that anyone that says they have encountered Jesus and came away unchanged did not really have an encounter with Him (Peter Kreeft, Jesus-Shock).
In moving on with the scenes of someone encountering Jesus that is skeptical or cynical we come to human beings rather than Satan. It’s quite different in scope of knowledge when you think about it in that Satan had more spiritual knowledge than the religious people, believed it all but is still damned. Human beings will know less very often but belief at times with a saving faith that is partnered with obedience. That’s faith and opening one to The Faith.
The key point here is that there is a beauty in confronting Jesus with hard questions. What I am trying to convey is that Jesus could not have true benevolence if he would stifle critical thinking. That is what cult leaders do and tend to be good at that with their own tool kits that play on the insecurities of their followers.
But that does not mean that Jesus then, or now, is prone to hold back from us. There is what they said in the early church era the kerygma, the promulgation of the gospel. But when Jesus gets our attention in the midst of our own agendas there is also Socratic questioning either through someone we know who loves truth or some fragment in ourselves that loves truth. That fragment is searching for meaning. In the kingdom message of Jesus we can have meaning. But also that leads to mystery as well. What is of note below is the zeal Jesus has to say about offering life, Himself, to those present but in all the world.
When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, many people saw the signs he was performing and believed in his name.But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people. He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person (John 2:13-25).
So what we have here is a religious scuffle. But not scuffling for scuffling’s sake.
In the temple courts he found people selling….. First case in point is that Jesus was coming into his Fathers house and seeing how it worked like a business house. And that was not supposed to be. Jesus did not have a gospel of niceness. Then and now he has a gospel of the kingdom which means its supposed to be free.
What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?— Good question but not deserving an immediate answer yet. First, the Pharisees had the seat of Moses and thus there was a feeling of legitimacy. But there was a power that they had in their chairs and he did not— supposedly. Since the hearts of the Pharisees were not humble they would not even converse with real decorum with Jesus. Meaning and mystery was beyond the study to go with considering what other duties they had. They just wanted to make sense of Jesus so they could say they tried to warn him. After all, he must be wrong.
Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.— They did not get it. This is one of the reasons why Jesus will speak in mystery in the gospels and in our lives whether we are open or not—Jesus plants seeds of truth and reaps later. In Acts of The Apostles it says that many priests become Christians. Those ones had their spiritual insight and it was hindsight both 20/20 and 3D of the Resurrention. So if you are a skeptic, and do not understand Jesus on something, you should not assume you will never get Jesus but just possibly not yet.
But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people— Jesus was not going for a popularity win. He came for a salvation win for the world. Feelings come and go and so do lofty words of loyalty. And for those times where Jesus serves black coffee with no cream or sugar it is from a fully informed knowledge of what is in their hearts.
This is also true for today. Jesus does not need us to approve of Him. He has no self-esteem issues. He cannot be bargained with into compromise. So is true to for today. For Christians that follow Jesus and His truth it is nice when physical or social sciences confirm biblical truth. But for a person or groups of people that want to identify as holy in Christ, we are invited to participate in the life of Jesus who still lives. Our esteem was never meant to have the highest priority of anyone else’s opinion. You want to prioritize being “relevant”? It starts and ends with one measuring their relationship to Jesus.