13 The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. 15 And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

18 So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” 21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.

23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. 24 But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people 25 and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.

Jesus is rarely what we expect. The folks in the temple ask him to validate his authority to throw them out by showing them a sign – “prove it!” they demand. And he tells them that if they destroy the temple he will rebuild it in three days. What a crazy answer – who is that going to convince?

This story, especially what John writes in verse 22, is actually pretty crazy in many ways. John says that eventually the disciples get what he was saying, but they didn’t get it until after he was resurrected from the dead. I wonder how many times this happened during those three years. Jesus said a lot of stuff that didn’t click until they saw him in his resurrected body.

The beautiful thing about the gospel is that God never demands that we clean up our temples. Instead he sends his son – who’s zeal for his father’s house (the church) consumes him – to clean things up for us. Isn’t that amazing? Christ is consumed by his zeal for the church! It’s never based on our performance – only on his.

This is really good news for us – living so long after these events. Do you ever feel like you just don’t get Jesus, the Bible or life for that matter? It’s okay to feel that way because Jesus is comfortable with us being in process. The disciples didn’t have everything figured out about Jesus right away either. Believing is/was a process and at the end of Jesus’ life they still didn’t get it and all deserted him. It wasn’t until after the resurrection that things really started to click (in fact, you could make a pretty good case that most of the disciples weren’t converted until after the resurrection).

There’s a really good quote about this process in Donald Miller’s second book (which I’m currently reading and really liking), Searching for God Knows What:

…Jesus was always, and I mean always, talking about love, about people, about relationship, and He never once broke anything into steps or formulas. What if, because we were constantly trying to dissect His message, we were missing a blatant invitation? I began to wonder if becoming a Christian did not work more like falling in love than agreeing with a list of true principles… (46).

This certainly seems true in the case of the disciples. Jesus didn’t come to add to an already complicated religious system – instead he came to give them (and us) himself – relationally. It took time to get to know him – to catch a glimpse of his glory and once they finally caught it – they left their consumer mindsets, laid down their lives and became zealous for the same thing that consumed Christ – they too became consumed with His Church!